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Reitmans to Launch Online Marketplace in Q4 2022: President Interview

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Canadian retail giant Reitmans (Canada) Ltd, which recently announced it had emerged from its restructuring proceedings through the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, is launching the new RCL Market in the fall to expand the online offering of its three brands – Reitmans, Penningtons and RW&CO.

Jackie Tardif

“Over the last few years, our e-commerce business has grown exponentially and RCL Market will further transform the way our customers shop online,” said Jackie Tardif, President of the Reitmans brand and Executive Sponsor of the RCL Market Project. “We are proudly Canadian owned and operated, thriving to constantly evolve. We have the largest market share in both women’s and women’s Plus specialty retailing with Reitmans, Penningtons and RW&CO., attracting one in three Canadian women to shop our nationally recognized brands. We also serve the men’s market with RW&CO.’s unique work from anywhere attire.”

The retailer operates 412 stores consisting of 242 Reitmans, 92 Penningtons and 78 RW&CO.

Reitmans had filed for creditors’ protection on May 19, 2020. Recently, it announced it had paid to the Monitor appointed under the CCAA process, Ernst & Young Inc., the aggregate amount of $95 million with the Plan of Arrangement. It also announced it had entered into a senior secured asset-based revolving facility of up to $115 million with Bank of Montreal.

Reitmans at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

The credit facility has a term of three years and funds will be used, among other things, to finance the amounts payable under the Plan of Arrangement and to fund Reitmans’ working capital needs and for its ongoing general corporate purposes, including new store openings and renovations, said the retailer.

Tardif said the rise of e-commerce has fundamentally changed the expectation of the consumer and their behaviour and that has accelerated during the pandemic.

“The first reason (for launching the new initiative) is that we want to remain a leader and address the growing needs of our customers,” she said.

“The second is to offer an exceptional range of curated product from brands they know. Customers love us, recognize us, as we have very loyal customers. Expanding our product assortment is obviously a financial growth opportunity for Reitmans Canada Limited.”

“With RCL Market, we will be offering price positioning and service and, at the end of the day, when you extend an offer to customers who already like you, they know what you stand behind, so they will trust you that you’re making the right curated selection for them. They want choice but they want it in a simplified way,” she said.

Tardif said the consumer of today is loyal to a retailer when they choose a brand. They like the company’s DNA.

REITMANS (CANADA) LIMITED TO LAUNCH RCL MARKET THIS FALL

“So if we are offering the price positioning and the service, at the end of the day, when you extend an offer they already like you, they already know what you stand behind what you’re doing, so they will trust you that you’re making the curated selection for them. They want choice but they want it in a simplified way,” she said.

Tardiff said the company has been working on this initiative for the last few months to be able launch it in the Fall. 

“We want to continue to be a leader in the digital world. We’re doing very well. We’re increasing significantly on our e-commerce platform and we just want to extend it and address the growing needs of our customers,” she added.

“What is important in the RCL market we are creating is we will curate the assortment that we will be offering to our customer. So it doesn’t become a sea of brands and a sea of products. It will be well selected, high quality brands, very aligned with our values. That’s the trust that our customers have in us and we’ll make sure that we’ll respect that trust and stand behind what we offer.”

The RCL Market initiative will be powered by Mirakl, the industry’s first and most advanced enterprise marketplace SaaS platform, which will offer handpicked quality value products offered by partner brands.

“With the launch of RCL Market, our customers will benefit from a larger array of carefully selected products to offer a tailored shopping experience with both the loved and recognized brands to which they are already loyal, as well as new ones that we know they will love,” said Lisa Reitman, Vice-President, Customer Experience, and co-lead on the RCL Market Project. “Our marketplace will enable each brand to curate its own assortment, so each brand’s product selection will continue to meet the customers’ needs, yet will now offer brands and relevant categories of products such as footwear, beauty, accessories, home, and more.”

Reitmans (Canada) Limited is currently searching for partnerships with brands – worldwide or Canadian, big or small – who want to join its community to serve Canadian customers from coast to coast. Any interested vendors looking to join the RCL Market experience for the Fall 2022 launch can now apply by visiting www.reitmanscanadalimited.com/rclmarket.

Jean-Francois Fortin

“Working in partnership with brands that share our values will be of the utmost importance to us; we are committed to ensuring responsible business conduct and ethical sourcing principles. We offer trusted and loyal service and will look for partners who also uphold these high standards,” said Jean-François Fortin, Vice-President, Planning & Allocation and co-lead on the RCL Market Project. “Mirakl’s best-in-class technology and marketplace expertise will ensure that RCL Market will be a digital shopping experience that includes staples available in our physical stores as well as products that are exclusive to the RCL Market, while remaining true to the DNA of our brands and to our values.”

In a recent public letter, Reitmans President Stephen Reitman said he’s confident that its brands (Reitmans, Penningtons and RW&Co.) will flourish.

“We now begin a new chapter in our company’s almost 100-year history,” wrote Reitman.

“While the uncertainty of Covid-19 may continue, I am confident that Reitmans (Canada) Limited and our brands, Reitmans, Penningtons and RW&CO., will flourish. I look to the future with hope and optimism for us all, our partners and our valued customers.”

RW&CO at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

In December, the company released its financial results for the third quarter of its fiscal 2022, ending October 30.

Sales for the third quarter of 2022 increased by $14.8 million, or 9.1 per cent, to $178.2 million, primarily due to an increase in store traffic and number of transactions, as customers transitioned back to a “brick and mortar” shopping experience, it said.

Gross profit for the third quarter of 2022 increased $19.8 million to $101.4 million as compared with $81.6 million for the third quarter of 2021. Gross profit as a percentage of sales for the third quarter of 2022 increased to 56.9 per cent from 49.9 per cent for the third quarter of 2021.

“The increase both in gross profit and as a percentage of sales is primarily attributable to lower markdowns and promotional activity in the third quarter of 2022 combined with a favourable foreign exchange impact on U.S. dollar denominated purchases included in cost of goods sold, partially offset by higher merchandise freight costs as the global shipping industry disruption required an increased usage of air freight shipments to meet customer demand,” said the retailer.

In his letter Stephen Reitman said: “When I reflect upon our experiences over the last 22 months, I am struck by the number of people, both within and outside of our organization, who enabled us to emerge successfully from CCAA, and who have supported us during this most difficult time.

“While the uncertainty of Covid-19 may continue, I am confident that Reitmans (Canada) Limited and our brands, Reitmans, Penningtons and RW&CO., will flourish. I look to the future with hope and optimism for us all, our partners and our valued customers.”

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 National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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