Knix to Open 6 New Stores in Canada Amidst Rapid Expansion; Continues to Revolutionize Intimate Apparel [Interview]

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Underwear and apparel retailer Knix has plans to open six stores in the next six weeks in Canada to take advantage of the holiday shopping season as the brand continues to aggressively expand its footprint across the country.

Joanna Griffiths

Joanna Griffiths, Founder and President of the company, told Retail Insider those stores will be located at CF Market Mall in Calgary, Southgate Centre in Edmonton, CF Polo Park in Winnipeg, Richmond Centre in the West Vancouver area, CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa and Toronto Premium Outlets in Halton Hills.

“This is part of a broader expansion plan within Canada. We’re continuing to think about opening a similar group of stores to what we did this year. Six to eight locations a year,” she said. “And looking for penetration across Canada. In some instances opening a second or third location within a market and also looking at net new markets as we’ve just done with Edmonton and Winnipeg.”

Currently, Knix has nine locations – six in Canada and three in the U.S. The Canadian locations include two in Toronto, two in Vancouver, one in Calgary and one in Ottawa. The U.S. locations are all in California – Santa Monica, San Francisco and San Diego.

Knix.ca

Griffiths said the retailer’s typical footprint is about 2,500 square feet. 

“We’re in the process of sort of evaluating what is the best path forward for the U.S. So when we launched our three California stores we kind of took three very different approaches. One’s in a mall. One’s kind of like a community store and then another one is on more of a tourist, shopping street,” she said.

Griffiths launched Knix with the goal of transforming an underwear market that had too much frill and not enough function. A trailblazer with the creation of Leakproof Underwear, she continues to focus on listening to what people want and bringing revolutionary solutions to life.

In 2013, Knix introduced Leakproof Underwear to the world. In 2015, Knix released their first wireless bra. In 2016, Knix is the first brand to use real women–of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds–on their site. In 2017, Knix launched the first period underwear brand for teens and tweens, Kt by Knix. In 2019, Knix is the first brand to release a lingerie campaign exclusively featuring women from ages 50 to 81. And in 2022

Knix launched the first of its kind Confidence Tour, empowering people to be their most confident selves on a live runway in their intimates.

Knix Santa Monica (Image: Knix)

Griffiths said the retailer has discovered it has a nice white space within the Canadian market.

“A lot of feedback from our growing Canadian consumer base that they want to see and touch and feel product and try it on. That’s kind of gearing our strategy,” she said. “We’ve been experimenting over the past couple of years. With (CF) Sherway (Gardens in Toronto) we entered into our first mall concept. The stores before were all more community-driven concepts. We’re seeing great success in both which is leading to the desire to continue to roll out stores.”

Today, the retailer is a trailblazer with its comfortable wireless bras to super absorbent underwear, which are designed to make women feel more comfortable in their own skin.

“We have a pretty unique product assortment. So a lot of our products are highly differentiated via the innovation and the technology that we offer. We’re a bit more fashion forward than I think maybe some of the more traditionally active apparel companies as an example,” said Griffiths. 

“People are loving the product and they’re loving the brand as well. We’ve been on a decade-long journey to really reframe how women are portrayed in the media and portrayed in marketing. Taking a more diverse and inclusive approach and it’s really speaking to people of all ages and backgrounds where they feel like Knix is a store where they want to shop at and they feel comfortable coming into the location and being helped by our incredible retail team members.”

Knix on Queen Street West
Knix on Queen Street West – Photo by Dustin Fuhs

Given the success of the brand’s Canadian stores, Griffiths said the retailer is seeing a desire for people to connect again in person following COVID. 

“From our perspective, the physical retail side of things is really taking off within Canada,” she added.

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. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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