Dutch men’s suit retailer Suitsupply is ramping up its Canadian expansion after it entered the market in 2014. The company, which currently operates two flagship stores in Canada, will open its third standalone unit in suburban Vancouver next year. The retailer also recently struck a partnership with Nordstrom that saw concessions open in its three of its Canadian stores.
Suitsupply opened its first Canadian store at 9-11 Hazelton Avenue in February of 2014. The store, contained in two former townhouses, recently expanded by annexing a lower-level space. Fokke de Jong, founder and CEO of Suitsupply, says that the store will expand again by taking over upper-level space after seeing strong sales growth since its opening.
In the spring of 2017, Suitsupply opened an impressive three-level Montreal flagship store spanning more than 4,000 square feet at 2152 Rue de la Montagne. According to Mr. de Jong, the stores have seen tremendous growth after a slow start as Suitsupply gains brand awareness in the Montreal market.
Several months ago, Suitsupply executed on a lease to open a 6,100-square-foot, two-level flagship store at ‘The Amazing Brentwood’ in Burnaby BC, which marks the retailer’s first standalone storefront in the Vancouver area. The store will feature at a prominent location at the corner of Brentwood Boulevard and Halifax Street — both are outdoor streets. Suitsupply’s main floor will span about 3,850 square feet according to lease plans, with a second level spanning nearly 2,270 square feet. Across Brentwood Boulevard will be retailers including Nike, Adidas, and possibly a COS store, while nearby retailers will include Lululemon, Wilfred, and a 30,000-square-foot H&M store that will be the first in British Columbia to feature ‘H&M Home’ furnishings.
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In the Vancouver market, as well, Mr. de Jong said that the retailer is looking at the possibility of opening a second Vancouver store in the city’s downtown core.
In an effort to rapidly expand Suitsupply’s distribution in Canada, the retailer partnered with Nordstrom to open shop-in-store concessions in three stores. That includes a Vancouver Suitsupply store that opened on the third level of Nordstrom’s CF Pacific Centre flagship. In Toronto, Suitsupply opened concessions at two of the city’s three Nordstrom stores, including at the downtown CF Toronto Eaton Centre as well as at Nordstrom’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre location. In the US, Suitsupply has also opened at Nordstrom’s store in suburban Chicago at the upscale Oakbrook Centre, as well as at Nordstrom’s Del Amo Fashion Center location in Torrance, California.
Each of the concessions span between 800 and 1,000 square feet, and are staffed by Suitsupply employees. On-site tailors and each boutique offer custom-made clothing as well.
Mr. de Jong explained that the Nordstrom partnership was a long time coming, and that it was Nordstrom’s customer service that sealed the deal in terms of seeking a retailer to open concessions. At the same time, it was important to provide the ‘Suitsupply experience’ he said, and a concession model expansion was struck.
It’s an uncommon move for Nordstrom stores to feature leased concession spaces on its fashion floors. Although many Nordstrom stores do house shop-in-stores for major brands (particularly luxury brands), most are owned and operated by Nordstrom itself rather than utilizing the leased concession model more common at retailers such as Holt Renfrew. In Canada, concessions in Nordstrom stores include a Gucci accessory boutique at Nordstrom’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre store, a Delvaux boutique at Nordstrom’s Vancouver and Yorkdale units, and a Christian Louboutin women’s shoe boutique at Nordstrom’s CF Pacific Centre store in Vancouver.
Looking into the future, Mr. de Jong said that he sees continued growth for the Suitsupply brand in Canada. The Calgary market is a potential target for a store in the coming years, and the Toronto market could be in line for at least one more standalone Suitsupply storefront. He pointed to the fact that the New York City area is home to six Suitsupply stores, which means there’s room for growth in Toronto which operates similarly as a major financial centre.
Privately-held Suitsupply was founded in Amsterdam in 2000 by Mr. de Jong, and the retailer now operates a network of 125 stores in major centres globally. The brand began online and quickly shifted to a brick-and-mortar model. And while the past several years has seen a shift towards streetwear styles, Mr. de Jong says that there is a resurgence of men seeking out suits as fashion skews back in a dressier direction.