Dani Reiss is ready.
And even though Canada Goose Holdings has taken a big coronavirus hit, the president and chief executive officer is looking to take advantage of the “opportunity” in the market so the brand, which was hot before the pandemic, comes “through the other side stronger.”
But the shutdown has been something of a trial by fire, even for Canada Goose, which had been growing at a rapid clip, the red patch of its parkas becoming a nearly ubiquitous sign of winter in key markets such as New York.
For the fiscal first quarter ended June 28, the company’s revenues fell 63.3 percent to 26.1 million Canadian dollars while losses widened to 48.1 million Canadian dollars from 25.5 million Canadian dollars a year ago. (One Canadian dollar is currently valued at 74 cents in the U.S.).
The wholesale channel accounted for 74.2 percent of Canada Goose’s sales in the quarter and the company said shipments were “materially lower” as stores reopen.
Investors were shaken some and sent shares of the company down 5.2 percent to $23.51 on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday.
Still, Reiss told WWD in an interview that the brand is seeing positive signs out of the wholesale channel, noting “customers are looking for our products” and that retail partners are “looking to us to help them recover.”
Reiss owed much of this to Canada Goose’s brand positioning — a favorite topic of the ceo, who is grandson of the company founder Sam Tick.
“Through all of this we’ve not been promotional,” Reiss said of the COVID-19 shutdown and slow restart. “We’ve not discounted any product. It’s important to build a strong brand and maintain our identity, and I think that through this we’ve done that.”
And he plans to keep at it, strengthening the brand’s social positioning, for instance underscoring Canada Goose’s push in sustainability, which targets a carbon neutral operation by 2025.
“The future of retail is going to be dominated by strong brands and brands that take a position on things that are important,” Reiss said. “Consumer are going to care more about that and we are very well positioned to be one of those brands.”
So Reiss is seeing “a lot of opportunities in this time.”
It could be a little glass half full, but part of that means ramping up digital capability — something most brands are doing — and expanding in China, which is a bright spot in the consumer world right now.
The company is pressing on with its plans to develop globally scalable in-house e-commerce and omnichannel innovation and has increased investments in these areas for the key fall season.
Twenty-one of the firm’s 22 stores are open now and retail investments have been reduced and refocused, with new openings in Mainland China. The firm has committed to four stores in Chengdu, the first of which opened in June and is performing ahead of expectations.
The move in China could help Canada Goose avoid some of the pain of what is expected to be a nearly complete shutdown in tourism as people stay close to home to social distance or simply avoid outbreaks abroad.
“A lot of the tourism comes from China,” the ceo said. “They’re going to be traveling around inside China and we’re going to be capturing Chinese tourist demand in China in a really powerful way by opening these retail locations. I’m very excited about that.”
Canada Goose is also ready to make its move in footwear, having bought bootmaker Baffin in 2018 and last month named Adam Meek general manager of footwear and accessories to develop a global footwear strategy.
Reiss said Canada Goose is looking to launch its first footwear in fall 2021, expanding into what just might be — fingers crossed — a post-coronavirus world.