Canadian outerwear brand RUDSAK continues to expand its retail footprint across North America with plans to grow the business in different markets.
Alex Kocun, VP Sales and Operations, said part of the expansion includes opening a store next year in Montreal’s massive mixed-use development Royalmount, likely near the end of summer.
The store will be about 2,200 square feet.
RUDSAK, which is based in Montreal, began in 1994. Currently, it’s a global brand with its e-commerce reach.
“The DNA of the brand started 30 years ago as an outerwear company that specialized in leather, fur and a really very body hugging silhouette. Very aesthetically pleasing outerwear for the Canadian market,” said Rani Al-Hawli, CFO. “Over the 30 years, the brand and the company has evolved. We are now a performance luxury brand.”
“Being 12 months a year whether it’s spring, summer or whether it’s winter, RUDSAK is now known for being a performance luxury brand providing both athleisure, athletic, active wear in the transitional periods and in spring and outerwear in the fall period, ski wear. This is where RUDSAK is right now.”
“Our physical presence is Canada. We’re a Canadian company. We have a physical presence in Canada both in retail stores and in our head office operations. We also have operations and retail stores in the United States. And we are currently growing across Europe and the Asian market.”
In Canada, the company has 22 stores with a stronger footprint in the East particularly in Montreal and in Toronto.
“But we do have expansion plans that we would like to include our footprint in the West of the country. Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.”
Al-Hawli said the company is pleased with the Royalmount presence.
“It’s in a really nice location. We picked it specifically for the lighting of that location. It’s going to be our future flagship store in Quebec. So we’re very excited about that. It will have our new retail concept in it. We have a designer who is currently doing the interior design of that store. It’s going to be spectacular,” he said.
Ben Labrecque of Oakmont Real Estate Services represents Rudsak.
Kocun said Royalmount offers something unique in the Montreal retail landscape. It’s an “experience centre.”
“It’s clearly a high end mall. Montreal hasn’t had a project like that. It is needed,” he said. “We believe as a brand that it is a perfect fit for us because we are offering a high end product as well. Therefore we believe it was a very good opportunity for us and that’s one of the reasons we are in Royalmount.”
Al-Hawli said the recent pandemic changed many things for retailers. RUDSAK, like many other retailers, had to adapt to that environment.
“Now we are in that re-expansion phase. So what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and COVID did that for us. It really accelerated the way we work as a company. It automated a lot of our processes internally. And it realigned us to be ready for this future which is where we are today. Alex and the retail team are driving a re-expansion across the Canadian and the U.S. space,” he said.
“For us, in our retail expansion, there’s a strategic plan to align the brand in the places our customers want to be. So for us Royalmount is one of those key places. We believe the values and the offering that that mall is proposing to its clientele also fits the same values we have as a company. It fits our client base. So for us, it’s part of our strategic go-forward plan for retail in Canada.”
Al-Hawli said the company believes it’s ready for growth to triple over the next two to three years.
“We’re looking to triple our numbers and we’re in line to do that,” he added. “We had phenomenal growth over last year. I know it’s very difficult for many retailers to say, especially this year. I think the last time we ran the numbers it was 27.8 per cent growth for this year which is phenomenal.
“Luxury like all other retailers are feeling that retail pressure. Fortunately for us as a brand we’ve been very strong at connecting with our customer base, with our clientele. If you look at some of our customer reviews, I think you’ll see some of the most phenomenal customer reviews for an outerwear brand across Canada if not North America. That’s being reflected in the customer’s consistent demand.”