America’s oldest outdoor clothing company, Woolrich, is expected to open its first Canadian store this year, with plans for more as the brand launches new Canadian retail operations. Woolrich has partnered with Aurora Realty Consultants for the expansion initiative.
The company was founded in Pennsylvania in 1830 for the purpose of manufacturing fabric for the wives of hunters, loggers and trappers. Later, the company also outfitted clothing supplies to the American Civil War. It includes two labels: Woolrich Outdoor, distributed in North America, and Woolrich John Rich & Bros., the contemporary high-end outerwear line that is distributed worldwide.
Woolrich Inc. and Woolrich Europe announced a merger in November of 2016, creating a company called Woolrich International. Longtime Italian partner W.P. Lavori in Corso now controls the new company, with Woolrich International’s head office to be located in London UK. Annual sales in 2016 were US $190 million, and the company is projecting annual growth of 12% between 2017 and 2020, where it anticipates revenues of US $300 million while employing 500 people. The new company has earmarked about US $50 million to open more than 60 stores globally, including in Canada.
Woolrich currently operates 25 stores, globally, including two full-priced stores in the Unites States (Boston at 299 Newbury Street and in New York City at 125 Wooster Street) as well as one outlet in Pennsylvania.
The company is working with Aurora Realty Consultants on its Canadian store expansion, under the direction of Jeff Berkowitz and Ashley Lebofsky. According to the brokerage’s website, Woolrich stores will ideally be in the 2,500 square foot range, and could locate either within malls or on urban street fronts.
Woolrich is expected to open its first Canadian store in Toronto in 2017, followed by a 2018 expansion into major urban Canadian markets. In a December 2016 article in the Financial Post, Woolrich told journalist Hollie Shaw that Vancouver is also a target city for the brand.