Canada’s largest swimwear retailer, Bikini Village, has opened its first Calgary location with plans to open two more in the Alberta city in October as part of the company’s national expansion plans.
The first store launched Friday August 17 in CF Chinook Centre and the other stores will open in CF Market Mall and CrossIron Mills, which is located just outside Calgary’s city limits in the Balzac area of Rocky View County.
Roméo Di Liello-Roberge, General Manager of Bikini Village, said the company currently has 59 retail locations in Canada with the majority of them in the Ontario and Quebec markets – 28 stores in Quebec and 17 stores in Ontario.
The retailer has one store in West Edmonton Mall which opened about a year and a half ago.
He said the company chose Calgary as a key focus of its expansion plans due to the city’s young population, strong retail sales and economic growth forecasts, which are expected to lead the country over the next five years.
“Our new Calgary locations strengthen our presence in one of the strongest retail markets in Canada. The stores ideally complement our e-commerce business, maximizing choice and convenience for our customers here,” said Di Liello-Roberge. “Expanding our online offering into a physical location allows us to serve customers who may prefer to take advantage of the selection and expertise we offer in store.”
“We believe the market of Calgary is dynamic and is getting back really strongly and will keep growing and this is why we decided to invest in this market.”
The Montreal-based company was founded in 1978, acquired in 2015 by Boutique La Vie en Rose Inc., and sells brand-name swimwear, beachwear and accessories for both women and men. Di Liello-Roberge said customers range from their teens to mature adults.
When asked if he sees further growth in Calgary in the future, he said: “We’ll see how the market reacts. Calgary is quite a good market. We’ll start with three stores and then eventually if there’s space for a fourth store we’ll see but we don’t want to cannibalize the stores that we have open.”
“We think the customers in Calgary are really fashion savvy and are looking for quality products and this is actually exactly our target customer.”
“We’re really strict in our locations. We pick our locations specifically. We sign long-term rents and we want to make sure that when we sign for a store we are signing for a good market,” he said.
“My goal will be to have 75 stores in Canada. It’s really by opportunity. The challenge is with working with landlords. That’s the main challenge right now. They’ve been a good partner but sometimes want to grow faster than the offer that we have. I think in the time of two to five years (for full expansion).”
“We developed a new concept store two years ago and we’ve been improving that concept store and this experience over the last two years and right now we opened our newest store concept in Calgary and we think with that concept we offer a really interesting experience that I personally think is not offered on the market. We plan to offer a better shopping environment, a better experience and a better offer in terms of collection and that’s what differentiates us,” said Di Liello-Roberge.
The company said Bikini Village offers specialized swimwear consultants in-store providing a more personalized service and welcoming atmosphere.