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Old 19th April 2006   #1
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Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 517
Default Lane Bryant coming to Canada (article)

Is Charming Shoppes about to develop a Canadian presence? This new article from The Globe & Mail seems to indicate that it is.

From the text, I gather that the company is looking to purchase a small Canadian retailer, and to build on that. There aren't many smaller plus-size retailers in Canada, so if they choose to go this route, their options are limited to a few.

The article states that "A new entry in Canada would undoubtedly pinch the business of Reitmans (Canada) Ltd., the dominant specialty plus-size retailer in this country." Well, I think it would be exciting to have some Lane Bryants and/or Fashion Bugs in Canada (although it would have been even more exciting a few years ago, say from 2001-2003, when Fashion Bug has the most size-positive and beautiful advertising in North America, or in spring of last year, when Lane Bryant had their greatest campaign ever). But now, I think the company would have a hard time matching Reitmans' gorgeous seasonal campaigns with Barbara Brickner.

On the other hand, the competition might prompt Reitmans to invest even more into its plus advertising (magalogs? TV ads?).

At any rate, it's an exciting bit of news. Here's the link to the story:

and in case it vanishes (as online articles often do), here's the text:


U.S. clothier sees perfect fit in Canada

Plus-size women's fashion retailer targets an underserved and growing market



The largest U.S. retailer of plus-size fashions is keen to launch stores in Canada as domestic rivals race to get a better grip on one of the few fast-growing sectors in women's clothing.

Charming Shoppes Inc., which owns the popular Lane Bryant chain, would like to acquire a small retailer here and expand it significantly as a way to cash in on the burgeoning market for larger sizes, said Steven Wishner, a senior vice-president at the Bensalem, Pa., company.

"We've been keeping our ear to the ground, certainly," Mr. Wishner said in an interview about Charming's interest in Canada. "A business that we are likely to find is most likely a business that is under the radar screen. You've got to ferret these things out; they don't just fall in your lap."...

"Charming Shoppes would have an excellent opportunity here," said retail consultant Wendy Evans of Evans & Co. Consultants Inc. "I think it won't be too long before they're here . . . They understand the customer, the pricing, the sizing, the styles. They're really good at it."

Large-size clothiers tend to offer little in the way of fashionable or fun choices, she said. Lane Bryant would provide a wider array of styles: "Women want to feel special, fashionable and sexy, even if they're oversized," she said. "I think there is a gap in the market."

A new entry in Canada would undoubtedly pinch the business of Reitmans (Canada) Ltd., the dominant specialty plus-size retailer in this country. The owner of Penningtons and Addition-Elle, it has been snapping up smaller players in the sector.

Department stores, including Hudson's Bay Co., have also tried to boost their plus-size business. According to 2004 data from HBC, roughly 30 per cent of Canadian women wore size 14 and up, yet only 5 per cent of retail space was dedicated to these customers.

Identifying the opportunity, Charming Shoppes dipped a toe in the Canadian market about a year ago with the introduction of Lane Bryant on-line shopping.

While demand for the product is "excellent," Mr. Wishner said, the company is still trying to make cross-border cyber-shopping more cost-efficient. Taxes and duties can add a lot to the final tab.

Mr. Wishner said Charming Shoppes has no specific schedule for rolling out its stores here. The retailer has a lot on its plate at home, with a recent acquisition, an expansion into intimate apparel and a planned launch of outlet stores slated for this fall, he said.

He would like to follow the same strategy as that taken by discounter TJX Cos. when it acquired the Winners discount chain . Mr. Wishner was an executive at TJX at the time and worked on the deal. Winners was then only a tiny merchant and has since grown considerably.

"Were I to find a similar opportunity here [with Charming Shoppes], I'd be very interested in pursuing it," he said. "In the absence of being able to find something yet, we're not quite ready to move forward."

Does he envision a substantial expansion for Canada? "We wouldn't bother to come if we couldn't." Charming Shoppes has more than 2,200 stores in the United States, including 748 under the Lane Bryant banner.
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Old 21st April 2006   #2
Join Date: July 2005
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Default Re: Lane Bryant coming to Canada (article)

This is an exciting prospect for plus-size fashion in Canada. And to be fair, Lane Bryant is capable of producing beautiful imagery. Note the picture below, for example, from LB's Valentine 2006 promotion, showing Kate Dillon in one of her better photographs of recent seasons. It celebrates her celestial peaches-and-cream complexion, fair hair, and the fact that she has been adorned with the "Spun Sugar" look, which is the most breathtaking of all cosmetics styles for accentuating timeless beauty.

However, Lane Bryant will need to do one thing above all, if it wishes to compete in the Canadian market--and that is, to employ models who are gorgeous, and size 14 or better. Faux-plus promotions have always failed in Canada--and always will.

Only if LB consistently features genuinely full-figured models will it even have a chance of cementing a Canadian presence. Cotton Ginny's collapse, due to unpopular non-plus advertising, was an important lesson to other Canadian retailers, and since then, Reitmans has produced one season after another of arguably the best campaigns in the industry.

Competition is always a good thing, though, and Lane Bryant's Canadian experiment could benefit the movement--if it is done right . . .

An enchantingly soft look for Ms. Dillon:

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Old 20th September 2006   #3
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Posts: 441
Default Re: Lane Bryant coming to Canada (article)

There was another article about this in the National Post today:

Here are the parts relating to LB:

...the owner of the Lane Bryant plus-size women's clothing chain, have been looking at locations in Canada, says the country's biggest shopping mall owner.

"Lane Bryant is interested," Peter Sharpe, chief executive of Cadillac Fairview Corp., confirmed yesterday in between leasing sessions at an International Council of Shopping Centres convention in Toronto...

Lane Bryant is owned by Charming Shoppes, Inc., the largest specialty retailer of plus-sized clothing in the United States, with 2,265 stores. It also owns the Fashion Bug and Catherine's Plus Size banners.

In Canada, Lane Bryant would face stiff competition from Montreal clothing giant Reitmans Canada Ltd., which is the top retailer of plus-sized apparel in Canada and owner of the Penningtons and Addition-Elle banners.

"A huge portion of youth are [full-figured] and when you look at Addition-Elle and Penningtons combined, they have captured about 40% to 45% of the plus-size market in Canada," said David Howell, president of retail consultancy Associate Marketing International.

"Sears has really backed away from it, so somebody new like a Lane Bryant would have a huge opportunity."

While Brooks Brothers and Lane Bryant cater to older customers, Pacific Sunwear targets the 18-to-30 demographic most coveted by advertisers.

Id rather have Torrid in Canada, quite honestly, unless Lane Bryant can really improve its advertising, and use bigger models. LB hasnt had a really stunning campaign since Spring 2004, when Crystal Renn and several other models were photographed in that gorgeous dream-like Classical garden. That was such a beautiful promotion, that I am amazed LB never followed up on it. Everything since has been kind of dull.

By constrast, the advertising of the Reitmans companies is so amazing - probably the best in the world, especially at Reitmans itself - so LB would have an uphill battle...
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