Oh, Canada, the foreign country that so often doesn’t feel like one at all! That is why many retailers eyeing international markets plan to open stores there, instead of in more exotic foreign lands. Opening in Canada is much easier than venturing into Asia and Europe, where retailers have to learn different labor laws, shopping habits, body types, and sizing. J.Crew is scouting Canada for its first foreign locations, and Victoria’s Secret plans to open four 10,000-square-foot megastores there. The Gap, meanwhile, is using the country as a dumping ground for ten new outlet stores.
In These Times, retailers want to play it safe, and Canada not only feels that way, but is (mostly). Though Canadians’ tastes and shopping habits are similar to those of Americans, they’re still foreign at heart. From The Wall Street Journal:
Canadians tend to be slower, steadier shoppers than Americans, with a preference for higher-quality goods and more interest in outdoor looks, says Sam Winberg, a principal at brokerage Northwest Atlantic Canada Inc.
Gap Inc. has been in Canada for some time, with 200 Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy stores already established. And their CEO, Glenn Murphy, is Canadian! Though they may have an edge in the country, Canadians still can’t buy Gap products online. “Talk about being late to the party,” Murphy said. Just because they’re slow and steady doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the technology all lazy people have come to love.