Canada Goose expands into footwear | BoF Professional, News and Insights

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Canada Goose will start selling shoes in November.

The company has quietly planned the launch for the past three years, chief executive Dani Reiss told BoF. Canada Goose acquired Baffin, a Canadian footwear company in 2018, “leveraging their knowledge” of the footwear industry, according to Reiss, before recently hiring executives who previously worked at Sperry, Nike and Columbia Sportswear.

The Canada Goose Snow Mantra Boot, a $ 1,300 insulated winter boot, was made in Romania and can protect consumers in weather conditions as low as -30C, according to the brand. The Journey Boot, made in Italy, is a flexible $ 750 leather hiking boot that includes a removable foam sockliner.

Canada Goose is entering a new category at a crucial time for its business. The brand expects to achieve a billion dollar turnover for the first time this year, in large part thanks to the popularity of its quilted winter coats. During the pandemic, online sales and demand from China increased. Over the years it has launched other categories like hoodies, hats and fleeces. He also launched knitwear in 2017, which now grosses over $ 45 million a year, but coats still make up the bulk of his business.

But the luxury outerwear market has also grown more crowded since Canada Goose products became all the rage almost a decade ago. Moncler, Canada Goose’s main competitor, said sales last spring were back to pre-pandemic levels. There are also several smaller luxury outerwear brands like Mackage, Moose Knuckles, Woolrich and Herno, not to mention The North Face, Patagonia and Arc’teryx. Luxury brands Gucci and Balenciaga also sell high-end down jackets.

While Canada Goose winter jackets have become a luxury staple around the world, analysts also say the brand must now enter new markets rather than relying on a flagship.

“What if tomorrow your bestseller is not a bestseller? Said Audrey Depraeter-Montacel, Fashion and Luxury General Manager of the consulting firm Accenture. “In the luxury space, brands need to think about their next bet.”

Expansion into new categories is also key to retaining luxury customers, added Jessica Ramirez, retail analyst at Jane Hali & Associates.

“You can only replace a jacket every now and then,” Ramirez said. “They want customers to come back to the store. “

New distribution strategy

Canada Goose’s shoes will play a role in the backbone of the business away from wholesale, with shoes made available to a handful of third-party retailers in addition to its own stores and website, including Ssense and The Webster.

Overall sales through the brand’s stores and website account for nearly 70% of its business, up from around 40% in 2018. Many brands, especially in the luxury sector, are ending wholesale partnerships in order to better control how their products are marketed and expensive.

For Canada Goose, the change was more disruptive than for brands like Gucci or Prada. Shares plunged more than 10% in August as investors feared the move could hurt sales.

Reiss said that when it came to footwear, Canada Goose looked for third-party retailers who were considered “trend givers.”

“[The boots are] is going to be difficult to obtain, ”he said. “I like to start small and… and create a buzz around it.”

Make the sale

Canada Goose will have to convince buyers to fork out for such expensive winter boots. Sorel’s boots sell for under $ 200 while Stuart Weitzman’s winter boots are around $ 600.

Ramirez said Canada Goose has proven that “customers won’t flinch at the price of functional luxury,” but noted that boots are a different buy from coats because they get more wear and tear.

“There are brands that people know for outdoor footwear and they have spent decades building the trust,” Ramirez said.

Reiss said Canada Goose will focus the marketing of its shoes on craftsmanship.

“We have worked hard to bring something new and differentiated to the market and we believe this will set us apart,” he said.

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