Sugarfina Launches Canadian Store Expansion

Los Angeles-based, luxury grownup candy retailer Sugarfina has partnered with a Canadian brokerage to open stores in this country. Up to now, the brand’s products have only been available in Canada at retailers such as Nordstrom

The Sugarfina concept includes premium items made from high-quality ingredients, sourced directly from artisan candy makers around the globe. Products include gourmet chocolates, caramels, gummies, malt balls, licorice and other delicious confections. Champagne-infused gummies and maple bourbon caramels have been popular, with celebrity endorsements helping grow brand awareness. In the summer of 2016, Sugarfina introduced Rosé rose-shaped gummy bears, which were so popular they sold out within two hours while traffic caused the company’s website to crash. The wait list grew to more than 18,000 people.

Prices aren’t out of reach, despite being positioned as a luxury product. Small containers of candies are priced starting at under $10, with mix-and-match options including a ‘design your own bento box’ where several smaller candy-filled cubes (between three and eight cubes per ‘bento box’) are assembled into gift packages. 

The company was founded by married couple Rosie O’Neill and Josh Resnick, who came up with the concept after watching the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie together on their third date. Recognizing a niche for grownup candy retail, the couple traveled the world and met with candy makers, eventually opening an online candy shop in August of 2012. In November of 2013, Sugarfina’s first boutique opened on Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The 1,400 square foot store was referred to as “the Tiffany & Co.” of candy” by online culinary publication Eater, referencing both the white-and-blue colour scheme as well as the store’s high-end offerings. 

The Sugarfina concept has grown rapidly, now boasting 27 boutiques in the United States with three of those being located in Nordstrom stores. In Canada, Sugarfina shop-in-stores are located inside of all five Nordstrom stores operating in this country. The first shop-in-store opened at Nordstrom’s CF Pacific Centre flagship in Vancouver in September of 2015. 

Sugarfina is working with Tony Flanz of brokerage Think Retail on its freestanding Canadian store expansion, which could see up to 10 stand-alone locations open in this country. Initially, the retailer is looking at Toronto and Vancouver for stores, ideally in the 600 square foot to 1,000 square foot range within shopping malls. Sugarfina stores do exceptionally high sales per square foot, and its preferred co-tenants include Lululemon, Aritzia, Sephora, Apple, Godiva and other marquee brands, according to Think Retail. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd.

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