Scottish Outdoor Clothing Retailer ‘Trespass’ Enters Canada with Plans for Aggressive Store Expansion [Interview]


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Outdoor clothing store Trespass, with Scottish roots, made its debut in Canada in the fall with the opening of three stores and there are plans to expand across the country.

Robert Tucci

Stores are now open in Vaughan Mills, Niagara Falls (Outlet Collection at Niagara) and Tanger Outlets Cookstown in Ontario.

Robert Tucci, the lead for retail operations in Canada for Trespass, said the plan is to build over 30 stores across Canada in the next two to three years.

“Trespass comes from its original parent company which started in 1938 in Glasgow, Scotland and basically it was a company that was built that made handmade outerwear products. A lot of it was made for the local police departments and local individuals who were going to be outdoors, in the weather, in the elements, for extended periods of time,” said Tucci. 

“You could say they built an expertise around protecting people from the elements and that’s basically where their heritage comes from. Here in Canada or North America we hear about Gore-Tex and everything but there’s a lot of companies that have specialized in that very same technology just all going about it in different ways.”

Trespass Canada at Outlet Collection at Niagara (Image: Trespass)
Trespass Canada at Outlet Collection at Niagara (Image: Trespass)

Tucci said the word trespass is kind of a slang term in the Scottish highlands for going on an adventure.

“For them, it’s like trespassing on nature when you’re going out and you’re going on an adventure . . . The brand now has over 300 stores across Europe. And the compamy decided before COVID to enter Canada. They just thought Canada would be a great market. We have all the seasons. Some more extreme than others. They just felt we were a good fit,” said Tucci.

“Mountain Warehouse is also from the UK and Trespass saw Mountain Warehouse make the run to North America sooner and beat them to the destination. So COVID happened which put a hold on the plans and they just didn’t want to come in at a time when so much was going on. So Trespass waited for the market to begin to turn around and be more friendly to the retail environment. The plan was to get here this year and it was a big endeavour. We put the plans together for the three stores and we just hammered them out. One by one we built a store a week in the month of October.”

Tucci said the brand likes to run stores at about 3,000 square feet of space. 

“In the UK, in popular destinations, we can run the stores up to a 5,000-square-foot model but right now we’re taking it easy with the Canadian market. We want to allow Canadians to touch the product, feel the product and see the difference for themselves,” said Tucci.

“Trespass has always believed word of mouth is the number one form of advertising. So they feel that the more people that have the product, own the product because in Europe they have a very, very loyal fan base. Just in Vaughan Mills the other day I had a customer come in that knows the product from Europe and they went on a shopping spree in Vaughan Mills. We didn’t need to convince them of anything. They just knew what they wanted. That’s the level of trust they have with their customers and the fan base over there.

“I believe it’s just going to take time for Canadians to discover us.”

Trespass Canada at Tanger Cookstown Outlet Mall
Trespass Canada at Tanger Cookstown Outlet Mall

Tucci said the brand has big plans for the Canadian market. The question is just how long it takes for Canadians to adapt and respond to the product.

“The goal is to build just as many of our stores as you would have Mountain Warehouse across the country. We want to go coast to coast with a plan of 30 to 40 stores over the course of the next few years,” he said.

“We have goals to be in Vancouver and goals to be in the East Coast as well. But right now our primary focus is really getting Ontarians into the product and making sure we’re in all of the centres that we feel will have the most impact.”

The company was established in 1938 under the name Jacobs & Turner Ltd situated in the heart of Glasgow Scotland. 

“In the beginning, we had just 12 machinists working profusely in a 1200 sqft warehouse where we provided uniforms and other items of clothing to large organisations including the local police. As our success grew, we started to manufacture anoraks and waterproof jackets that shaped the future of our business,” says the company on its website.

“With in-house designers and product experts, our team are highly talented creative individuals who explore the possibilities and constantly push the boundaries of innovation. We have also developed our own technology and technical materials including Tres-Tex, Tres-Shield and Tres-Tex 3 layer fabric. Today, Trespass is one of the UK’s most successful outdoor clothing retailers providing a wide range of products from walking boots to outdoor furniture, selling internationally and exporting to over 60 countries.

We currently have over 300 stores worldwide and a network of wholesale clients across the world as well as a thriving e-commerce website which we are constantly updating and improving.”

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.


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