Chinese variety retailer YOYOSO is kicking off its entry into Canada this spring with its first storefront set to open in a shopping centre in Regina. A company representative told Retail Insider that YOYOSO will look to open 30-40 stores in Canada, and possibly more depending on performance.
YOYOSO’s first Canadian store will locate at the Southland Shopping Centre in Regina. The franchised location will be located in a 2,000-square-foot space in the mall which is anchored by Canadian Tire, Safeway, and a Cineplex cinema. Renderings of the YOYOSO store show a bright space characterized by the retailer’s blue-green branding that is eye-catching. Other major markets in Canada are also expected to see YOYOSO stores open as the brand further penetrates the Canadian market.
The retailer focuses on eight categories in its stores, including health and beauty/cosmetics, home accessories, fashion accessories, fashion bags, digital accessories, stationery & gifts, seasonal products, and imported food. A total of 5,000 products are available and YOYOSO says that 500 new items arrive in its stores each month. Target markets vary from mainstream value-seekers to even “white collar workers” and “the petty bourgeoisie” according to a post on the Southland Shopping Centre website. “As far as now, the YOYOSO stores have totally served more than 1 billion customers all over the world,” the post goes on to say. More than 100 designers create products for the retailer’s stores.
Pricing is kept reasonable in an effort to attract customers. “What makes consumers scream is the super cost-effective that all YOYOSO products are priced at USD 1-10 so that ensuring a great shopping experience for customers.”
YOYOSO was founded in 2014 and now operates more than 1,000 stores in 30 countries worldwide. Markets include China, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Bahrain, Brunei, Georgia, Kuwait, India, South Africa, Hungary, Mongolia, Brazil, the United States, Guatemala, Ecuador, France, Russia, and Iraq. South Africa is a new market for YOYOSO, according to its website.
YOYOSO’s corporate website goes on to describe the retailer with a sense of optimism, and possibly unintentionally with some humour. YOYOSO’s concept is “Simple, Fashionable, Real” according to the website. “Give a big “Yes” to yourself when you open your eyes every morning!” says the website, going on to say that “The most beautiful time is what you have at this moment!” Youth is viewed as positive with YOYOSO making the claim that “Youth is unspeakable Luxury!”
“YOYOSO looks forwards to meet the best “YOU” at these most beautiful years, then let you to feel the dedicated international fashion based on youth and trend, which brings “YOU” a sunny & happy life,” is a final quote on the retailer’s company description page.
The company operates via a franchise network. Retail Insider connected with a company representative over WhatsApp and was provided information for this article.
YOYOSO is the latest Chinese variety retailer to enter the Canadian market, marking a unique trend that only started recently. In early 2017, Chinese retailer Miniso (which claims to be Japanese) entered Canada with plans to eventually operate 500 stores here (though things are said to be in turmoil still amid claims of misdeeds and fraud). Soon after, Chinese retailer Mumuso, which positions itself as being Korean, began its Canadian store expansion via the Vancouver market. Yet another brand, Ximivogue, entered Canada last year with another similar concept which includes gift items, home wares, fashion and accessories, and small electronics, among other categories.
Vancouver-based Oomomo, which sells primarily inexpensive Japanese-made goods, has been expanding rapidly into new markets in Canada that now include Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg and Toronto. Japanese retailer Daiso, which until recently had a store in the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, is said to be looking to open about 100 stores in Canada over the next several years.
The international variety retailers entering Canada are competing with a wide range of existing retailers. Given the broad nature of products within the variety retailers, value-priced stores such as Dollarama could take a hit in categories that include housewares and small gifts. Larger retailers such as Ikea, Canadian Tire and Walmart could also see competition as Asian variety retailers locate in urban centres. One of the advantages variety retailers have is the ability to operate in small footprints, while big-box retailers are for the most part absent from the downtowns of major Canadian cities.
YOYOSO is also expanding into the United States. Similar to Canada, a franchisee was secured for YOYOSO’s first US-based store which is located in Miami.
Canada continues to be a hotbed of activity as international brands look to enter the country by opening stores. It’s unclear yet if there will be a slowdown at a time when more than 700 store locations are confirmed to be closing in Canada in the first quarter of 2020. Brokers and real estate professionals we’ve spoken with indicate that even more international brands will be entering Canada this year, including traditional players as well as as fitness and food and beverage concepts. Over the past three years, more than 110 international brands have entered Canada by opening stores. In 2017, a record-breaking 50+ brands entered Canada by opening stores and in both 2018 and 2019, about 30 international brands opened their first Canadian locations with plans for further expansion in new markets.