By Craig Patterson
Another value-priced Chinese variety retailer will be entering the Canadian market this year, and it has remarkable similarities to other Chinese brands positioning themselves as being “Japanese” or “Korean” that have also recently opened stores in this country. The chain’s name is ‘Ximivogue’, and it appears to closely resemble the Miniso chain which entered Canada in 2017.
Ximivogue, which sells Korean-inspired products, will kick off its Canadian expansion with two store locations in Toronto, both located in major regional shopping centres operated by landlord Cadillac Fairview. The website for CF Fairview Mall in Toronto says that Ximivogue will ‘open soon’, as does the website for the upscale CF Sherway Gardens.
The CF Fairview store will span about 1,675 square feet and will be located on the mall’s second level between Saje Natural Wellness and a Coles bookstore, along a mall corridor leading to anchor Hudson’s Bay. The CF Sherway Gardens unit will replace a 1,153 square foot Zwilling J.A. Henckels storefront, located between a Second Cup coffee shop and a Little Burgundy store, also near the mall’s Hudson’s Bay location. Mall maps can be found directly below. Neither mall currently includes Miniso as a tenant.
The the Ximivogue chain sells a range of goods at relatively low prices, including household goods, clothing, jewelry, cosmetics and beauty products, toys and other small goods, with about 7,000 products in total. Products are positioned as being ‘Korean’, despite Ximivogue being a Chinese brand.
Ximivogue’s website says that the company has “been investing money and efforts in creating “green consumer products”, which are then sold globally through its franchising network. The company says that its products “follow the principles of simplicity, sustainability, and high-quality.”
The company’s website indicates that Ximivogue uses a franchise model as part of its expansion — the company explains that it provides less risk to the franchisor, and as a result more on the franchisee. The franchise model could also explain some of the inconsistency in branding seen in different countries — the company also goes by names ‘Ximiso’ and ‘Ximi Voue’ . Ximivogue’s website states that franchisees “can count on the commercial information and suggestions provided by its mature management team with more than eight years of franchise experience.”
Ximivogue operates about 1,400 store locations worldwide, including stores in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Australia. The company also has a single store in the United States, operating at Dolphin Mall in Miami.
The company is headquartered at the Guangzhou International Finance Center in Guangzhou, China, and also has offices in Hangzhou and Yiwu.
The brand is remarkably similar to Chinese variety retailer Miniso, which had planned to open about 500 stores in Canada over the past several years. Late last year, Miniso’s Canadian division was accused of fraud by its Chinese parent company, which filed to bankrupt the Canadian division to retrieve monies owed. Miniso Canada is under the care of a trustee.
Some say that Miniso, itself, is copying Japanese brands such as Muji and Uniqlo — Miniso positions itself as a “Japanese lifestyle brand” despite being headquartered in China. “Korean” retailer Mumuso, which is also based in Japan, is said to be copying Miniso.
Ximivogue is the latest Chinese variety retailer to expand its operations in Canada. As mentioned above, Miniso continues to expand its base of stores and despite internal issues, it will open more units including a large store at the base of the ‘Smart House’ condominium tower at 215 Queen Street West in downtown Toronto. Vancouver-based variety retailer ‘Oomomo’ is also expanding aggressively across Canada and this month will open its largest unit, spanning about 25,000 square feet, in Markham, north of Toronto.
Ximivogue is also the latest international retailer to enter the Canadian market by opening stores. In 2018, about 30 international brands entered Canada by opening brick-and-mortar stores, which was down from a record-breaking 50+ that entered Canada in 2017. We’ll continue to monitor international brands as they enter the Canadian market, and will be reporting on yet another one early next week.
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. Email Craig: firstname.lastname@example.org