Tag Archives: winter jackets

Difficulties at Danier

The intense competitive pressures that have wreaked havoc on Canadian retailers in the past few years are showing no signs of slowing down.

The latest victim is Toronto-based Danier Leather Inc., a 44-year old leather-goods retailer that filed for creditor protection in early February. The chain operates more than 80 stores, all of which face the prospect of shutting down unless the company can find a buyer or investor to reverse its grim financial situation.

Danier_Leather

The potential closure would leave vacancies in most major GTA shopping centres, including the Toronto Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens, Square One, Fairview Mall and Scarborough Town Centre, among others.

Danier has carved out a reputation as a destination for leather goods. The brand has certainly had success within that niche, with a wide range of leather outerwear and bags, along with complementary accessories such as scarves, toques and gloves.

As frigid Canadian winters have driven consumers towards parkas and down-filled coats warm enough to get them through days when the temperature struggles to surpass -20 degrees, however, Danier has faced increasing competition from brands such as Canada Goose.

Even if the bulk of Danier’s merchandise is designed for times of year when a lighter jacket is appropriate, consumers who are shelling out hundreds of dollars on winter parkas have likely begun to think twice about spending extra cash on a new spring jacket.

It remains to be seen whether this niche Canadian chain will be rescued, or suffer the same fate as such brands as Mexx Canada and Parasuco Retail Inc.

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More activewear for King Street

Looks like Mountain Equipment Co-op has some new competition on King Street West. Patagonia, a California-based retailer that specializes in eco-conscious clothing for outdoor sports, has opened its first Canadian location at 500 King Street West, just west of Spadina.

Patagonia carries a range of clothing and gear for men, women and children, for activities such as hiking, climbing, surfing, yoga, skiing and snowboarding. It also sells packs and other travel gear.

The clothing is designed, the company says, with “a bias for simplicity, utility and quality.”

I like its collection of heavy duty winter jackets, a few of which look like they’d be ideal for a cold day of snowboarding. While they’re pretty pricey, I don’t doubt that the high quality insulation is well worth the price for anyone who spends time outdoors during a Canadian winter.

Overall, Patagonia’s collection seems pretty similar to the one offered by Mountain Equipment Co-op, though less comprehensive – Patagonia doesn’t seem to have the extensive footwear, cycling or camping offerings that MEC is well known for.

The two companies also share a similar commitment to sustainability. Patagonia uses recycled polyester in many of its items, and uses organic, rather than pesticide-intensive, cotton. It has a mandate to manufacture products with processes that cause the least harm to the environment. The company also “rigorously” polices its waste and uses a portion of sales to support environmental groups.

Overall, this is a pretty admirable commitment to a cause that not enough retailers support. Maybe this is part of the appeal that Patagonia has among consumers. It’s certainly been successful outside of Canada, with more than 50 stores throughout the United States and overseas.

At a time when sales of technical athletic apparel at stores like Lululemon Athletica continue to climb, I’d say Patagonia stands a good chance at succeeding in the Canadian market.

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