By Craig Patterson
Danish lingerie and fashion brand Change (formerly ‘Change of Scandinavia') recently opened three new boutiques in Canada and has plans to open as many as 10 stores here in 2019. In 2020, the retailer plans to open its first stores in the province of Alberta as Change expands its operations coast-to-coast.
The most recent store openings for Change in Canada included a 705 square foot unit at the CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa, a 590 square foot store at CF Galeries d’Anjou in Montreal, as well as a 1,000 square foot unit at Les Promenades Gatineau in the Ottawa Capital Region, which is now one of Change’s largest stores in Canada.
Change is planning to open up to 10 locations in Canada in 2019 with a focus on British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. In 2020, the brand plans to open in the Alberta market. Stores will ideally be in the 600 to 1,000 square foot range and locate in busy malls or on vibrant urban high streets. Alberta is home to several of Canada’s top shopping centres in terms of sales per square foot productivity, according to Retail Council of Canada’s most recent Canadian Shopping Centre Study.
Change launched in Denmark as a private label brand in 1995, and its first retail store opened in Copenhagen in 2001. The company now operates more than 250 corporate and franchised stores in 15 countries across three continents (Europe, Asia and North America), as well as an international e-commece website.
Change lingerie entered the Canadian market in 2006, and has picked up the pace of its expansion over the past couple of years. The brand now boasts 23 locations in Canada. Those include six in British Columbia (Vancouver x 2, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond and West Vancouver), one in Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), nine in Ontario (Toronto x 3, Thornhill, Oakville, Burlington, Oshawa, Hamilton and most recently Ottawa), and seven in Quebec (Montreal x 5, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and now in Gatineau).
In 2018, Change opened two stores — a 1,045 square foot unit at Metropolis at Metrotown, in suburban Vancouver, as well as an 875 square foot boutique at the CF Lime Ridge shopping centre in Hamilton.
Change lingerie has seen remarkable demand which is due, in part, to its expansive range of bra sizes when compared to similar retailers. Change boasts a vast selection of more than 110 different sizes, with approximately 75% of its bras being in the DD to M cup size range (most lingerie retailers operating in Canada sell bras in the B-D size range). Change stores offers free bra fitting to ensure that its products meet the needs of its diverse customers, and prices are kept reasonable to attract a broad clientele. Approximately 75% of Change’s revenue comes from underwear and bras, with the remainder from loungewear, swimmer, nightwear and stockings.
As a result, Change competes with retailers such as Victoria’s Secret, La Senza and La Vie en Rose, among others. It also competes with department store lingerie departments such as those at Hudson’s Bay, which can be substantial. Change’s value proposition is in its customer-centric boutique format as well as its vast sizing assortment that is often not available in other more traditional retailers.