Sleep Country Canada Continues Rapid Expansion Amid Market Domination

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When Christine Magee, Stephen Gunn, and Gordon Lownds launched Sleep Country 25 years ago with four retail stores in Vancouver, they were filling a void they felt existed in the market.

Fast-forward to today and the mattress retailer is a giant in the industry with more than 270 locations, an ecommerce site, and mattress-in-a-box brand, Endy, now part of its portfolio. Continued growth is on the company’s radar for the coming years.

“I was in the banking industry for 13 years and had the opportunity to meet Steve and Gord through that because they had an acquisition company and that acquisition company did the management buyout of one of the manufacturers. Prior to starting Sleep Country, we had a very good view of manufacturing within the context of this retail category of mattress and box and we also understood what was happening in the retail landscape in Canada,” said Magee, who remains with the company as its chair of the board.


“Because of that, both the industry itself having some interesting fundamentals that were appealing from a retail perspective and because we thought the retail landscape was not servicing this category as well as we thought it could – highly competitive by the way – but there were opportunities to provide better quality of experience in-store and home delivery that we said this is the perfect we thought opportunity to develop a business plan that was really going to address needs before, during and after. And if we did it properly, we really thought we had an opportunity to make this company successful and pursue our national footprint of a company to address the marketplaces and expand our concept of retail in our category.”

The company has 275 stores – 214 under the Sleep Country banner and 61 under the Dormez-Vous banner specifically in Quebec. Those 275 stores are serviced by 16 distribution centres that are located across the country so the company can “receive our product in an economical way but more so that we can provide a distribution or a delivery service to our customer which has been a very important part of our strategy when it came to being successful in servicing the customer and developing the ease of getting it to their home and setting up their product, taking away those packing materials as well as offering to take away their old mattress so we could donate it and repurpose it in the community or recycle,” said Magee.

She said the company’s bricks and mortar strategy continues to be a very viable way for it to grow and service the marketplace. In the past the company has indicated to its stakeholders that it will continue to grow its store count from eight to 12 stores every year. In the past year, the company has already opened 11 new stores. It also renovated eight stores in its last quarter.

“We do have a mall store concept that we’re excited about. We started I think in Calgary a few years ago. It’s been doing very well. We have increased our mall store premises and so that opportunity for us to open stores close and in an easy traffic area is certainly one we have and are continuing to utilize,” added Magee.

The company’s well-known trademark is ‘why buy a mattress anywhere else?’ and today it loves to use the slogan ‘all for sleep’. That means it continues to focus on its vast selection of mattress and boxspring lines. But today it is also increasing its merchandising and putting an equal emphasis on ancillary products that are important to people such as pillows and bedding.

“All part of the ancillary products – one, that are specifically important to the quality of sleep and two, that would also just add the convenience factor that when you buy a mattress or pillow, we should also be offering we think really amazing value and quality. Just to broaden what our service offering is to our customer and to ensure that we are offering them more each time that they come in,” said Magee.

Last fall, Sleep Country announced it had acquired Toronto-based mattress-in-a-box brand Endy for $88.7 million.

Magee said the company has been very happy with the acquisition of Endy. In 2017, Sleep Country launched its ecommerce site, including its bed-in-a box product. She said the Endy acquisition and Sleep Country’s ecommerce strategy layers into the opportunity to service the customer who prefers to purchase online for the convenience.

“We view it as a great opportunity and continued ability for us to expand our ability to service our customer,” she said.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
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 News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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