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Aritzia Expands into Menswear Space with Majority Acquisition of Vancouver-Based Reigning Champ

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Vancouver-based womenswear retailer Aritzia announced Monday that it has acquired a 75% stake in Vancouver-based men’s athletic wear brand Reigning Champ. Aritzia paid approximately $63 million, with the remaining 25% equity interest purchased in three instalments through 2026.

The move follows Aritzia’s first foray into menswear when in 2019 it introduced a puffer jacket which sold out quickly. Vancouver-based Aritzia was founded in 1984 and has more than 100 stores in Canada and the United States and continues to expand — the brand has also spun off its TNA, Wilfred and Babaton in-house brands into separate storefronts in some markets. Vancouver-based Reigning Champ was founded in 2007 and has two stores in Vancouver and two in Toronto as well as distribution in multi-brand retailers globally. 

Reigning Champ’s co-founders Chris Nordee and Paul Heathcote will continue operating the business in partnership with Aritzia through a transition period of approximately five years. They said that this will allow both businesses to focus on sustaining their unique brands and cultures while leveraging mutually beneficial synergies and efficiencies. 

Reigning Champ (CNW Group/Aritzia Inc.)

“We’re excited to welcome Reigning Champ. Rooted in classic, timeless athletic wear, their brand has been carefully curated for just short of fifteen years,” said Brian Hill, Founder, CEO and Chairman of Aritzia. “Building on Aritzia’s strong start to fiscal 2022, this acquisition meaningfully accelerates our product expansion into men’s while bringing incremental growth to our already surging women’s eCommerce and U.S. businesses. Capitalizing on our world-class operational expertise and infrastructure, men’s, merchandised independently, will become a meaningful part of Aritzia’s platform through our Reigning Champ acquisition.” 

Hill has said in the past that Aritzia could eventually expand into menswear and it remains to be seen how Reigning Champ will be integrated into the company in terms of space in Aritzia stores, some of which surpass 10,000 square feet.

Craig Atkinson, Co-Founder and CEO of Reigning Champ said, “As an innovative design house offering exceptional experiences through its online and retail platforms, Aritzia’s well-established track record as a successful direct-to-consumer business is one that we’ve long admired. Leveraging Aritzia’s unparalleled world-class infrastructure and expertise, this partnership provides an exciting path forward to elevate Reigning Champ to the next level as a premium athletic wear brand. We look forward to working with the incredibly talented Aritzia team to capitalize on the limitless opportunities ahead.” 

Reigning Champ on Robson Street in Vancouver
Reigning Champ on Robson Street in Vancouver (June 2021). Photo: Lee Rivett

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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