By Craig Patterson
At a time when many retailers are closing stores in Canada, some that offer unique value propositions are continuing to see success and are opening new locations. One example is Danish lingerie and fashion brand Change (formerly ‘Change of Scandinavia’), which has announced that it will open four more Canadian stores this fall as it continues with a national expansion strategy that could see many more locations in years to come.
Change lingerie has seen considerable brand loyalty in Canada which is due in part to its expansive range of bra sizes that are unavailable in other retailers. Change offers more than 110 different sizes, with about three quarters of them being in the DD to M cup size range. The company’s mission is “to provide the perfect bra to as many women around the world as possible.” Change’s boutiques are bright and welcoming and feature a modern edge, which partner brokerage Think Retail says makes Change an ideal tenant for busy shopping centres as well as on high streets.
Most of the other retailers in Canada selling bras only offer sizing in the B to D size range and interestingly, some of the retailers that one might expect would compete with Change lingerie actually refer business if sizes in their own stores are less robust.
Prices at Change’s stores are kept reasonable and personalized service is also part of the retailer’s value proposition. Brand loyalty is also driven by its ‘Club Change’ loyalty program. At all Change locations, customers are provided free bra fitting to ensure perfect fit. In order to meet the needs of its customers, Change stores also feature loungewear, swimmer, nightwear and stockings, though the majority of product in its stores includes bras and underwear.
Change is confirmed to be opening four more store locations over the next 14 months. This month, two storefronts will open in suburban Montreal, including a 700 square foot storefront at the Place Rosemere shopping centre as well as a 750 square foot location at the Galerie Rive Nord.
In December of this year, Change will unveil a 1,000 square foot location at the Guildford Town Centre in Surrey (suburban Vancouver), which is one of Canada’s most productive shopping centres in terms of sales per square foot. In November of 2020, Change has confirmed that it will enter the London, Ontario market with a 775 square foot store at CF Masonville Place, which is also a productive shopping centre that is considered to be a leader in the region. More store announcements in the meantime could be made as negotiations are ongoing.
Change, which launched in Denmark as a private label brand in 1995 and opened its first retail store in Copenhagen in 2001, plans to continue growing its base of Canadian stores. In 2020, the brand plans to enter the Alberta market and is seeking spaces in the 600 square foot to 1,000 square foot range, while also looking to further penetrate markets where it already has stores and resultant brand awareness. Change is working with Tony Flanz of brokerage Think Retail on its Canadian store expansion and is the contact for enquiring landlords.
Globally, Change 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 opened its first store in Canada in 2006 and after retaining Mr. Flanz, the brand began to expand rapidly into markets across the country. Most recently, Change opened an intimate-sized 650 square foot store at CF Galeries d’Anjou in Montreal. Change operates 25 units in Canada in markets including the British Columbia/Lower Mainland, Greater Toronto Area/Southern Ontario, Ottawa, Greater Montreal and Quebec City.
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: email@example.com