Will L.L.Bean find success in Canada where others have failed?
L.L.Bean has formed a partnership with Toronto-based Jaytex Group to make its first expansion into Canada. The partnership includes wholesale distribution, a dedicated website and stores.
Jaytex becomes the exclusive Canadian distributor of the Bean Boot and will distribute select L.L.Bean products this fall at 30 specialty retail stores including Sporting Life, Hudson’s Bay and Mountain Equipment Co-Op. Wholesale distribution isn’t offered in the U.S.
L.L.Bean also recently launched a Canadian website selling merchandise at fixed prices in Canadian dollars and communicating duties upfront.
In spring 2019, Jaytex’s L.L.Bean range will be expanded to include outerwear, footwear and accessories. In fall 2019, the opening of Canada’s first L.L.Bean store is anticipated through Jaytex. The goal is 20 stores across Canada within 10 years, according to an Associated Press report.
“We’ve historically had an active and loyal customer base in Canada,” said Steve Smith, president and CEO of L.L.Bean, in a statement. “Developing a true omnichannel presence including a wholesale component, as well as new brick and mortar retail stores and a dedicated Canadian website will give our Canadian customers a better overall L.L.Bean experience and make it much easier to shop in the channel that’s most conducive for them.”
Jaytex is 40-year-old Canadian distributor of outerwear and apparel and currently works with Ben Sherman, Free Country, U.S. Polo Association and Lily Pulitzer as well as a number of swimwear brands.
L.L.Bean operates 43 stores in the U.S. as well as 28 stores and a dedicated website in Japan.
The opening comes in recent memory of Target shuttering all 133 stores it had opened in Canada. During its time there, consumers complained of out-of-stocks and products priced higher than in Target’s U.S. stores. Other that have struggled expanding into Canada include Best Buy, Big Lots, Sony and Staples.
Walmart, Costco, Cabela’s and Tiffany’s are some U.S. retailers finding success in Canada. Lowe’s, which acquired Rona in 2016, announced yesterday that it is closing 27 of the chain’s stores in Canada as well as four others under its namesake banner.
- Jaytex Group to Expand its Presence in Canada with a Dedicated Canadian Website and its First-Ever Wholesale and L.L.Bean Retail Store Agreement – L.L.Bean/PRWeb
- Target gives up on Canada – RetailWire
- L.L. Bean looks to northern neighbor to boost its sales – The Associated Press/The Colombian
- Woe Canada! Many U.S. retailers fail up north – CNN
- Target’s failure as a lesson for other U.S. retailers eyeing Canada, experts say – The Canadian Press/Times Colonist
- Lowe’s closing 31 locations in Canada, mainly Rona stores – CBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does it make sense for L.L.Bean to partner with Jaytex Group on its expansion into Canada? Does it also make sense to include a wholesale component even though the brand doesn’t sell through third-party retailers in the U.S.?