Grafton Apparel Acquired by Stern Partners with Plans to Grow Retail and E-commerce in Canada


Share post:

Grafton Apparel Ltd., which operates 127 retail stores and 3 ecommerce websites across the Tip Top, George Richards Big and Tall and Mr. Big & Tall banners, has entered a sale agreement with an affiliate of Stern Partners Inc., a Canadian private investment company controlled by Ronald N. Stern.

Lance Itkoff

“Across Tip Top and our Big & Tall stores, Grafton Apparel offers unparalleled quality, value, and style that has delivered record results,” said Lance Itkoff, President and CEO of Grafton, in a statement. 

“We are the definitive go-to solution for men’s workplace and event apparel as well as the only nationwide chain catering exclusively to the Big & Tall customer. Stern Partners brings us the benefit of strategic Canadian investors who understand the retail landscape and we look forward to leveraging their insight and resources to help us deliver even better value to our customers and enhanced growth for Grafton.”

Tip Top Markham (Image: Tip Top)

Grafton said it will continue to independently operate and grow its retail and ecommerce businesses – Tip Top, George Richards and Mr. Big & Tall – in the Canadian market. 

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be finalized over the coming weeks. National Bank Financial acted as exclusive financial advisor and Davies Ward Phillips Vineberg acted as legal advisor to the Company on the transaction. Norton Rose Fulbright acted as legal advisor to the Purchaser.

George Richards Big & Tall Menswear at West Edmonton Mall

Stern Partners is a Canadian investment firm with more than 30 years of experience investing in a diverse range of operating companies, including extensive long-term interests in the apparel industry.

“The growth of the retail apparel market in Canada has been an area of interest for us. Grafton’s commitment to delivering quality and value to consumers, backed by a strong team, has created a growth trajectory that we want to support,” said Daniel Cairns of Stern Partners, in a statement. “We are excited to partner with the strong team at Grafton as we turn the page into this next chapter together.”

Stern Partners’ investments currently include over 20 standalone businesses that collectively employ more than 7,000 employees. 

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.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author



Subscribe to the Newsletter


* indicates required

Related articles

Enhancing Retail Environments: A Contemporary Feng Shui Consultant’s Insights on Design, Colour, and Visitor Experience [Podcast]

Craig and Mark Ainley discuss the profound impact of Feng Shui and flow on retail spaces. Mark highlights how subtle cues, from sharp angles to vibrant colours, influence consumer behaviour, emphasizing the importance of creating an authentic and inviting retail atmosphere.

Top Shopping Centres in Canada Evolving Experiential Elements to Grow Foot Traffic and Tenant Revenue [Interview]

JLL’s Senior Marketing Director, Property Management, discusses how creating unique experiences tailored to local markets helps drive overall asset value through increased footfall and productivity.

Mastermind Toys Acquired by Joe Mimran’s Unity Acquisitions, 18 Stores to Close 

Unity will acquire the majority of Mastermind Toys store locations following a bankruptcy filing, with a significant number of employees continuing with the business.

Active Gaming Facility ‘Activate’ Plans Rapid Cross-Canada Expansion with New Leases [Interview]

The company, known for its unique competitive socializing concept, aims to open multiple locations in Canada while also planning a global expansion.

Alo Yoga Entering Quebec Market Amid Ongoing Canadian Store Expansion

The US-based athleisure brand, similar to Lululemon, has launched a multi-store-per-city strategy in Canada as it enters the Belle Provence. 

From ‘Greedflation’ to Government Scrutiny: A Rollercoaster Year for Canada’s Grocery Industry [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses how over the past year the Canadian grocery industry has faced unprecedented political scrutiny and intervention, while also saying there's potential for a re-emergence of unethical schemes.

West Edmonton Mall Continues to Expand Luxury Retail with Addition of Moncler; Tiffany Marks 10 Years

Italian luxury brand Moncler is the latest to join the massive shopping centre with retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and Gucci. The mall’s first luxury store, Tiffany & Co. is also marking 10 years. 

Canadian Consumers to Prioritize Brick-and-Mortar Retail into December [Report/Interview]

Electronics are among the top gifts, with moderate growth in the restaurant and grocery sectors expected while also noting a controlled promotional approach due to slowing inflation.

Salesforce’s Rob Garf Discusses Canadian Retailers’ Strategies Amidst Q3 E-commerce Slowdown [Report/Interview]

Garf discusses a report showing a 9% decline in Canadian e-commerce growth, indicating a consumer expectation for discounts in the upcoming months. He discusses a consumer shift and how retailers can address it.

Early Signs Point to a Strong Holiday Shopping Season in Canada Despite Economic Challenges

Reports indicate that last Saturday and Sunday saw the biggest surge in consumer spending so far, with predictions made as we head into December.

Specsavers Set to Reach 100 Canadian Locations in Early 2024, Expanding into New Markets [Interviews]

The eyewear retailer, which entered Canada in 2021, is rapidly expanding and looking to gain market share from established players.

Burton Snowboards Transforms Toronto Flagship for [ak] Collection as Brand Looks to Expand [Interview/Photos]

The high-performance AK collection is a new focus, with Burton planning to grow its retail presence in Canada with more stores in key markets.