German athletic and fashion brand Adidas is launching a uniquely Canadian store expansion that will include new ‘experiential’ locations, renovated and repositioned existing stores, as well as a new focus on hockey-related uniforms and team gear in selected locations. Adidas has partnered with the National Hockey League (NHL) for a period of seven years and beginning with the 2017-18 season, Adidas will become the official outfitter of the NHL’s on-ice uniforms, as well as the official supplier of licensed apparel and headwear.
John Summers, Vice President of ‘direct to consumer’ for Adidas Canada, explained that Adidas has three types of stores in Canada — ‘sport performance’ branded stores, outlets, and fashion stores. The company’s outlet stores have seen tremendous growth over the past several years, prompting the company to further expand and refocus its sport performance-branded stores in Canada’s largest cities, as well as its fashion stores which operate under the Adidas Originals nameplate.
The company’s sport performance-branded stores are located in Toronto (10 Dundas St. East), Vancouver (860 Granville Street, currently focused on running) and in Oshawa ON (at Oshawa Centre, which opened in October of 2016). Mr. Summers explained that the company’s sport performance stores will see a new focus geared towards hockey, with a considerable amount of product catering to both on and off-ice training, coming into stores this summer. Adidas’ Canadian operations will continue to see a considerable focus on hockey as part of its ongoing NHL partnership.
Adidas will open a new hockey-focused sport performance store in Toronto’s Scarborough Town Centre in a few months, said Mr. Summers, and a new downtown Montreal flagship is also priority for the brand. Adidas is working with brokerage Oberfeld Snowcap on its Canadian store expansion, and new sports stores will ideally be in the 5,000 square foot to 8,000 square foot range, according to Mr. Summers.
Adidas also operate three ‘fashion-focused’ stores dedicated to the Adidas Originals brand, with locations in Toronto (389 Queen Street West), Montreal (1258 Ste-Catherine St. West) and Vancouver (848 Granville Street). All three of these stores will be undergoing renovations this year, creating experiential “neighbourhood” stores that will reflect their demographics and surroundings. The Toronto Queen Street store will be “trend savvy” as per the area’s demographics, while the Vancouver Granville Street store will cater to a similarly ‘hip’ demographic. The Montreal fashion store will see an “elevated execution” to address the high-fashion shopper on Ste-Catherine Street West, Mr. Summers explained. Adidas Originals launches often see long lineups for limited-edition product launches, reflecting strong brand loyalty among a segment of consumers.
These ‘neighbourhood’ stores will also be ‘experiential’, with a mixture of art and music thrown in for good measure. Creating in-store experiences is a trend being seen among stronger retailers in Canada as of late, particularly in light of enhanced competition from new retailers, as well as the expansion of eCommerce.
Adidas recently opened a massive 45,000 square foot store in New York City. Mr. Summers explained that none of the Canadian stores will reflect its design, as Adidas’ Canadian sport stores will feature more of a hockey focus, while the new Manhattan Adidas flagship caters to a variety of sports popular in the United States, while also catering to a considerable number of tourists. Canada’s Adidas stores are also considerably smaller — the Yonge and Dundas flagship in Toronto, for example, is 8,240 square feet on one level.
Looking to the future, Mr. Summers explained that Adidas could open more stores in new markets with its new hockey focus. Existing locations, which are particularly sneaker-focused, will also see an expanded assortment of hockey-related apparel and footwear, appropriate for both on the ice, as well as in the gym. There are also opportunities to expand the company’s Adidas Originals and outlet concepts in Canada, as Adidas seeks to be the “best sports brand in the world”, he said.