Canadian Retailer - Fall 2011 - (Page 22)

| RETAIL PROFILE THRIVING at their own pace Somewhere in between a small business and a national chain, Auld Phillips manages to find success | By Camilla Cornell I n the 12 years since Steve Bowen has been involved with mid-sized women’s clothing retailer Auld Phillips Ltd. the Canadian retail industry has changed dramatically. But in a marketplace crowded with large, powerful players at the one end and boutiques at the other, Bowen has proven definitively that being ‘stuck in the middle’ can actually benefit savvy retailers. That one simple fact, however, has put tremendous pressure on the country’s retailers, whether independent boutiques or national chain stores. “The independent comes in and orders a few T-shirts – one small, two mediums, two larges and one extra- large,” says the outspoken, forthright Bowen. “That kind of volume is so insignificant to Asian producers that they can’t get the kind of mark-up they need to compete with national retailers.” On the other hand, the national chains tend to order clothing directly from overseas suppliers, but they’re buying in such bulk “that they’re forced to reduce the number of styles that they offer in stores.” Bowen’s Chilliwack, B.C.-based 52store chain (which operates mainly under the Suzanne’s banner) has managed to survive and thrive in a tough retail environment by walking the line somewhere between those two options. As President and CEO, Bowen has relied on a combined buying strategy that sees him import 30 per cent of his inventory directly from overseas, while still buying 70 per cent of the assortment from other Canadian importers. “We line buy,” he says. “But the difference between Suzanne’s and an independent is that we’re able to write with 52 stores behind us compared to an independent with one to five stores.” With that larger quantity, comes the ability to negotiate “some very significant markup which obviously results in decent gross margin figures.” The result: Suzanne’s customers get the best of both worlds – the value proposition offered by large retailers, 22 | canadian retailer | fall 2011 | retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer http://www.retailcouncil.org/cdnretailer

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

PUBLISHER’S DESK
SHOP TALK
MOBILE RETAIL
LEADERSHIP SERIES
INDEPENDENT RETAIL
RETAIL PROFILE
RETAIL SUSTAINABILITY
ENVIRONMENT
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION
RETAIL CURRENTS
LOSS PREVENTION
ADVERTISERS’ INDEX
HAVE YOUR SAY

Canadian Retailer - Fall 2011

https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/RETS0209
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com