With the launch of footwear on the cards and a Beijing flagship about to open, luxury outerwear brand Canada Goose is primed for growth.
Traditionally reliant on wholesale, luxury outerwear brand Canada Goose is moving its focus to direct-to-consumer sales, and plans to expand its markets and offering.
It launched its direct-to-consumer strategy in 2014 with an online offer and stores in its native Canada. It now has 11 stores across the US and Europe – including one store, which opened in 2017, on Regent Street in London – and 40% of its sales are direct. The strategy appears to be working: in November, its second-quarter results showed growth in direct sales of 150% year on year, while total sales grew 33.7% to reach C$230.3m (£135.9m).
Chief executive Dani Reiss says the growth strategy is slow and steady: “The original target was 15 to 20 stores by 2020. I imagine we’ll continue along the same pace we’ve been going at. We’re currently at 40% direct-to-consumer and it’s been transformational for the business – and a great way to experience the brand. It’s great for us to have a direct relationship with [consumers]. And it’s important to control our own destiny in that way.”
China is a major focus for 2019. Over the last 12 months the business has dipped its toe in the water by selling on TMall’s luxury platform Luxury Pavilion, which Reiss says he has been “very happy with”. The brand then opened a pop-up store in Beijing in November ahead of its flagship store opening in the city. He says of the China push: “It’s really exciting, we’ve got a full team of people. We want to go deep into China and stay there for a long time.”
Canada Goose opened a store in Hong Kong this year, but the exact date of the Beijing store opening is yet to be confirmed.
We have been around for 60 years, and the intention is to keep growing sustainably
Dani Reiss, Canada Goose
There has been a growing focus on flagship stores in key cities, as well as an eye on the growth of experiential, Instagrammable fun. “Cold rooms” have been introduced at a handful of stores – these are kept at temperatures of -17ºC to -25ºC to allow shoppers to feel the effectiveness of the coats they are trying on.
“We’re a function-first brand,” says Reiss. “Real products that have a story and actually work are the things that people want.”
Reiss says life at Canada Goose has not changed since its March 2017 flotation, when it launched on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges.
“We’re not going to run our business in a short-term kind of way,” he explains. “We report quarterly, but we won’t be making quarterly decisions. We have been around for 60 years, and the intention is to keep growing sustainably.”
Reiss adds, however, that running a public company does have some different requirements. “It does come with more profile and more awareness, certainly in the business community. It’s all about talking to analysts and investors – our numbers are available, and people are asking questions of that. My job has been different every year for the last 15 years. It’s part of the fun – it’s evolving.”
Another long-term aim is to launch footwear: Canada Goose bought Canadian winter boot maker Baffin Inc for C$32.5m (£19.2m) last month.
Reiss calls it a “dream acquisition”: “Baffin make the best cold-weather footwear in the market. They’ll remain a standalone company, and we’ll help them become a better version of themselves. It’s difficult for apparel brands to move into footwear, so we want to do this right.” The brand intends to “learn from the experts” and launch footwear “at the right time”.
Reiss’s steady but ambitious approach to growth is likely to keep Canada Goose flying.