Canadian Retailer - Winter 2011 - (Page 22)

| sector spotlight CANADA in ’S By: Robert Price fashion Apparel retailing trends toward the international market, and foreign retailers and brands are entering in numbers. Market forecaster Trendex North America predicts that within six years, more than half of the apparel retailers in Canada will be foreign-owned. Unlike the United States, with its population spread fairly evenly across its geography, Canadians cluster themselves around large urban areas. Canadian retailers work with limited real estate and a concentrated customer base. This drives up the cost of available space, but it also means that retailers—if they have a smart Web strategy—don’t need as many stores to achieve the reach they desire. But if foreign apparel retailers want to enter Canada, it’s because Canadian consumers want the foreign brands. They already cross the border to shop at places like Target. They already shop from the many foreign brands that dip their fingers into Canada through the Web. Canadians seem to have an appetite for something new—even if Canada’s apparel market seems super-saturated with big box stores, general department stores, speciality shops, and luxury brand stores all vying for a cut of the consumer’s clothing dollar. Canada is an international market now, says Luc Bourdeau, VicePresident of Logistics at Groupe Dynamite, and he thinks that Canadian retailers will benefit from thinking of themselves as part of the international market—even if they only operate in Canada. This is one of the reasons why Groupe Dynamite has ventured south of the border. “It’s no longer a Canadian local market where Canadian companies compete against Canadian companies,” he says. “Basically, you have to become an international brand. This is what people are looking for. They want to have an international brand that has the latest fashion,” he says. “If you want to be able to survive, you will want to compete against these guys.” W hen Target purchased Zellers from Hbc, more than one industry observer remarked at the eagerness with which foreign retailers are entering the Canadian market. Last year the country welcomed Victoria’s Secret. Now arrives Target. And on our doormat stand J. Crew, Kohls, uniqlo, and a plethora of others. These brands intend to enter a Canadian apparel market that brims with action. In January, Loblaw’s Joe Fresh announced plans to bring standalone stores to Main Street and into malls. Simon’s, a Quebec staple, says it wants to expand west. Other established retailers, like H&M and Forever 21, have plans to expand their operations as well. And all of this movement is happening in addition to the access to international brands available through the Internet, the long-standing competition between established players like Walmart Canada, The Bay and Sears Canada, and the bustling activity of vertically integrated stores like lululemon and Zara. With the buzz generated by Target’s entry, what kind of retailer has the upper hand when it comes to selling clothes to Canadian consumers? THE SPECIALTY MONO-STORE One of the strongest competitive forces in Canadian apparel retailing today is the independent vertically integrated store concept—the speciality mono-store. The specialty mono-store manages the entire life of the product, from the design and manufacturing through to the transportation and retailing. This kind of retailing gives the store power—the power to control prices and manage the customer experience and the power of exclusivity. lululemon athletica is an example of a mono-speciality store that leverages these powers. lululemon owns the market on yoga wear—they invented it. They control the manufacturing, the quality controls, the brand experience, the store experience, and CANADA: A FASHIONABLE PLACE Canada has become a fashionable 22 | canadian retailer | winter 2011 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Retailer - Winter 2011

Canadian Retailer - Winter 2011
Publisher's Desk
Shop Talk
Mobile Retail
Leadership Series
In Your Best Interest
Retail Forum
Sector Spotlight
Retail Profile
By the Numbers... Global
The Consumer
By the Numbers ... Canada
Human Resources
Advertisers' Index
Have Your Say

Canadian Retailer - Winter 2011