By Craig Patterson
Toronto-based fashion brand Canada Goose, known particularly for its warm outerwear, has announced that it will open stores in Vancouver and Montreal, as well as a unit in suburban New Jersey. Canada Goose is said to be negotiating leases for other retail centres as well, as it looks to eventually operate a network of direct-to-consumer retail spaces that could lead to a reduction of some wholesale accounts.
The Vancouver Canada Goose location will be at CF Pacific Centre in what lease plans show is a 3,900 square foot retail space on the mall’s ‘Upper Level’ that will be across from Harry Rosen and in-between a new Links of London store on one side, and a future Maje store on the other. Canada Goose replaces Browns Shoes, which recently relocated to a retail space downstairs. Canada Goose was said to have been searching for street-front retail space for some time and last year it had even started recruiting and hiring staff for a store, though real estate selection proved unsuccessful.
The Montreal Canada Goose store will open at 1020 Ste-Catherine Street West (Corner of Peel Street) in a retail space formerly occupied by HMV, according to a french language report in LaPress. Journalist Marie Eve-Fournier says that the Montreal store will span about 8,000 square feet, which will make it by far the largest Canada Goose store location in Canada when it opens this fall.
The Montreal and New Jersey stores will be the first in North America to feature a cold room, where customers can test the brand’s clothing in rooms with temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Each of the new stores in the rollout are said to “reflect the localized character of their city”, and all will include marble polar bear sculptures from Canadian artist Jason Carter.
Canada Goose currently operates two other stores in Canada. Its Yorkdale Shopping Centre location in Toronto, which was its first store in the world, opened in October of 2016 and spans about 4,500 square feet. In the fall of 2017, Canada Goose opened a 4,000 square foot location at Calgary’s CF Chinook Centre.
The company also now has stores in New York City, Chicago, Boston, London, and Tokyo. The company plans to operate up to 20 stores globally by the year 2020, and it recently announced that it would expand operations and open stores in China (Hong Kong and Beijing) this fall, coinciding with an e-commerce presence on Alibaba’s Tmall platform, as well as a regional head office in Shanghai.
The Yorkdale store is said to be doing astronomical yearly sales, having well exceeded $50-million in 2017. Shoppers are given a quota of buying only five jackets per day, and some have made it their job to buy quota to resell overseas at a profit, given the potential for counterfeits in other markets. Yorkdale is also the most productive shopping centre in Canada in terms of sales per square foot and its clustering of luxury stores has resulted in attracting affluent locals and visitors who aren’t afraid of spending a fortune in stores such as Bulgari, Moncler and Saint Laurent.
Sources say that Canada Goose had struck a partnership with landlord Cadillac Fairview to open stores at CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa as well as at CF Carrefour Laval in Montreal, though this information is not confirmed and it’s unclear if a Laval location would open now that the company has announced a downtown Montreal flagship. At the same time, a CF Toronto Eaton Centre location is said to be in the works and that would give Toronto two locations. The Edmonton market is also said to be a target for Canada Goose and it’s unclear if lease talks have been finalized for a store at West Edmonton Mall.
In the United States, Canada Goose has announced that it will open a store this fall at the Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, New Jersey, located West of New York City. The Mall at Short Hills is considered to be one of the most prestigious shopping centres in the United States, boasting a considerable number of standalone luxury brand stores as well as several premium anchors.
On Friday, shares soared for the publicly traded Canada Goose after it announced an unexpected profit from its own stores, as well as online. The company expects 20% growth for the next three years.
Some wholesalers that carry Canada Goose products are said to be concerned with the company’s direct-to-consumer brick-and-mortar and online presence, which sees considerably higher profit margins than its wholesale accounts. Canada Goose accounts for a substantial percentage of sales for some multi-brand retailers that carry the brand and losing it could be a major hit for some stores that see visitors seeking out the brand. Sales at the Yorkdale location, as an example, are said to be higher than Canada Goose's entire sales in some major multi-brand chains, with the direct-to-consumer unit seeing enhanced profitability without utilizing a retail ‘middle-man’. Canada Goose will be one to watch as it continues to roll-out its retail strategy both in Canada as well as globally, which could prove to be profitable as well as potentially controversial.