Icebreaker Merino Wool Continues ‘TouchLab’ Retail Expansion in Canada 

Retail industry news delivered directly to you. Subscribe to Retail-Insider.

New Zealand-based Icebreaker, which specializes in Merino wool outdoor clothing, is celebrating another winter season in Canada with the addition recently of a new TouchLab store location and the re-opening of three newly-renovated stores.

The new TouchLab opened at CF Carrefour Laval in suburban Montreal last week, along with the re-opening of the others in The Kitsilano area of Vancouver, Montreal and at Park Royal in West Vancouver.

The company said it will also re-open its flagship Touch Lab in Portland, Oregon for the fall/winter season launch.


Luke Doddrell, General Manager for North America with Icebreaker, said Touch Lab retail stores for Icebreaker “create a very immersive experience” for customers and the beauty of the Merino wool is something which really needs to be experienced.

It’s something to be touched, to be put next to the skin, to truly experience the beauty of the fibre, he said.

“It’s quite unique and very special,” said Doddrell.

Despite an era where ecommerce and online shopping have become hugely popular, the experience of touching, feeling, holding, smelling and having a truly hands-on experience with products is still very appealing in the marketplace.

“People are thinking more and more about what they’re putting on their skin,” said Doddrell. “We really see an opportunity to help inform and maybe even educate people about what they put next to their skin.”

Icebreaker Merino clothing for the outdoors, technical sports and lifestyle includes underwear, mid layer garments, outerwear, socks and accessories for men, women and children. Its products are sold in more than 5,000 stores in 50 countries, at Icebreaker retail stores in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States and online at

On Saturday, September 29, 12 Icebreaker Touch Labs and Outlets in North America will be celebrating the start of the FW18 season launch by holding an in-store exclusive Win a Trip to New Zealand contest. The grand prize is two round trip tickets to New Zealand, $1,000 Icebreaker clothing, and $1,000 towards accommodation.


Customers are invited in-store to try on a piece Icebreaker’s new FW18 collection for a chance to win a trip to New Zealand. There is one entry allowed per person, and entry is only in-store; by trying on a garment from the new collection.

Participating stores and outlets include: Kitsilano (Vancouver), Park Royal (West Vancouver), McArthurGlen Designer Outlets Vancouver, West Edmonton Mall, Calgary (CF Chinook Centre), Ottawa (CF Rideau Centre, Toronto Queen Street, Toronto Premium Outlets, as well as in the United States in Chicago, San Francisco, Portland Pop-Up, and the Woodburn Outlet.

“The new and renovated Touch Labs are a welcome addition to the Icebreaker retail program, offering an immersive and personalized experience with the natural fiber brand from New Zealand,” says the company. “Merino wool is an incredibly high performance textile, that Icebreaker has been able to offer in categories such as Adventure, Training and Life, and through innovative natural textile blends, and in 100 per cent merino pieces, for year-round style, comfort and performance.”


Doddrell said the company has 14 stores across North America. There are 10 stores in Canada. And it is also planning to expand in North America.

“We’ve grown that relatively quickly. We’ve expanded by about six stores in the last two to three years. Really giving North Americans a real place to experience (Icebreaker). The stores that we’ve opened have been very successful but our goal is when we open a retail store is to bring in new consumers into the brand by giving them the information and the knowledge in our story and sharing our values with them,” he said.

“Over the next three to five years there’s plans to grow the business through all distribution, through our wholesale partnership which is still the majority of our business and seems to be a really significant part of our growth plans in terms of reaching more consumers in North America through our strategic wholesale partnerships as well as growing our own direct consumers through ecommerce along with key digital partners and also expanding our brick and mortar network across both Canada and the U.S. over the next three to five years. It’s about growing in the right way and we plan to grow all channels based on the opportunities that we have in North America.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

More From The Author

IKEA Partnership Launching one of the Largest Zero Emission Vehicle Fleets...

IKEA Canada says that it wants to reach 100% zero-emission deliveries by 2025.

M&M Food Market to be Acquired by Parkland Corporation

The massive acquisition includes over 300 well-located standalone franchise and corporate owned stores, over 2,000 M&M Express locations, and a well-established rewards program with approximately two million active members.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

Follow us


all-time Popular