By Retail Insider
Montreal-based fashion retailer Le Chateau is reportedly looking at expanding into the US market, according to a French language report in La Presse by journalist Marie-Eve Fournier. This comes after Le Chateau closed about half of its stores in less than 10 years, while at the same time investing millions of dollars into e-commerce in an effort to become profitable.
Jane Silverstone Segal, Chairman and CEO, said in a shareholder meeting last week that Le Chateau is looking to sell its fashions in the US using a wholesale model. That could include selling to smaller retailers and even department stores — Johnny Del Ciancio, VP of Finance at Le Chateau, reportedly said that expanding into department stores was the “logical” choice.
The expansion is set for this fall as Le Chateau is in talks with potential partners. Le Chateau already sells its wares on Amazon’s US and Canadian websites, though it’s only a small percentage of sales for the brand.
Le Chateau has not been profitable since 2010 and is reportedly working towards a goal of restructuring. That’s been going on for seven years and with that, the company went from operating 243 stores to just 129 stores, which means 45% of its network has shuttered over the past decade. In its most recent year, Le Chateau saw a loss of $23.8 million on sales of $190.9 million.
Four more Le Chateau stores are set to be closed, according to La Presse and it’s expected that the remaining 129 units will lead the company to profitability. Le Chateau has particularly downsized its presence in Montreal’s downtown core where at one time, it had nine stores on Ste-Catherine Street between Atwater and Berri. Now Le Chateau has just one unit at the Montreal Eaton Centre.
Le Chateau was founded in 1959 and was known to be the first retailer to introduce various trendy brands into the Canadian market. The retailer is marking 60 years in operation and the company says that it plans to be around for a long time to come, according to the report in La Presse.
Le Chateau should never had apologized for their ‘sloppy made fast fashions’ and stayed with it. Instead the company has tried to go after an older more mature crowd, based on the nostalgia of their branded past. Someone who bought a dress in the 80’s and 90’s for clubbing isn’t going to get nostalgic in their 40’s and 50’s and return to Le Chateau. Prices of clothing has increased with no marked increase in quality and their focus from being fashion leaders to now a shop where people buy wedding outfits or grad dresses is deplorable.