Canada Goose (clothing)
|Traded as||TSX: GOOS|
|Online, retail stores: Chicago, New York, Boston, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, Tokyo, London|
|Dani Reiss, President & CEO|
|Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Revenue||<C$300 million (2015)|
|Owner||Bain Capital and others|
Number of employees
Canada Goose Holdings Inc. is a Canadian holding company of winter clothing manufacturers. The company was founded in 1957 by Sam Tick, under the name Metro Sportswear Ltd. Canada Goose markets a wide range of jackets, parkas, vests, hats, gloves, shells and other apparel through various avenues, both wholesale and direct to customer with their own retail stores.
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In 1957, Polish-Jewish immigrant Sam Tick founded Metro Sportswear Ltd. in a small warehouse after spending years working as a cutter in other factories. Metro made woollen vests, raincoats, snowmobile suits, and other functional outerwear before creating down-filled jackets in the early 1970s. In 1972, Tick's son-in-law, David Reiss, joined the company and eventually became CEO. Metro mainly focused on manufacturing custom down-filled coats and heavy-duty parkas for the Canadian Rangers, city police departments, the Ontario Provincial Police, municipal workers, the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Correctional Services.
In the early 1980s, Metro Sportswear expanded to 50 employees. In 1985, David Reiss, Sam Tick's son-in-law, acquired a majority equity stake in the company. In 1985, the company began to produce apparel under its own "Snow Goose" brand. In the early 1990s, Metro began selling its products in Europe, where the Snow Goose name was already in use, so Metro sold its European products under the name Canada Goose.
David Reiss' son Dani Reiss joined the company in 1997. In 2001, when Dani succeeded his father as CEO, Canada Goose generated around $3 million in annual revenue, largely through licensing its designs to other companies in the industry. Under Dani Reiss' leadership, the company discontinued its private label operations and continued to manufacture only in Canada rather than outsourcing to Asia where labour costs were much lower. The business expanded in the mid-1990s and revenues increased from roughly $3 million in 1991 to roughly $17.5 million in 2008, reflecting increased sales of Canada Goose products in Scandinavia since 1998, and in Canada around 2008.
Canada Goose began to expand internationally and in 2010 it opened an office in Stockholm, Sweden, for its European operations. In 2011, Canada Goose acquired a new plant in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. As global growth continued, Canada Goose moved its Winnipeg operations into a larger facility in 2013. The Canadian Marketing Association named Reiss as its marketer of the year in 2013.
In December 2013, Boston-based private equity firm Bain Capital acquired a 70% equity stake in Canada Goose at a $250 million valuation. The deal included a commitment to keep manufacturing in Canada. Canada Goose also acquired a factory in the former city of York in Toronto formerly owned by ACCO Brands' Hilroy stationery.
In December 2014, Canada Goose opened a showroom and an office in New York City. In January 2015, Canada Goose acquired a second manufacturing facility in Scarborough from a contractor. In November 2015, Canada Goose opened a second factory in Winnipeg significantly increasing its manufacturing capacity. That year the company revenue was reported to be about $200 million, including warm-weather countries such as India and the Middle East. In late 2016, Canada Goose opened a store in Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
The company announced preparations in November 2016 for an initial public offering, reporting that it generated $291 million in revenue and $27 million in profit in 2016 and had $278 million in debt. On March 16, 2017, shares of the company began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol GOOS. In October 2017, Canada Goose opened its second United States flagship store in Chicago. The 10,000-square-foot store is located on the famous Magnificent Mile shopping area.
Despite their high cost, Canada Goose's fur-trimmed parkas have become "almost the uniform of the inner city among 16-to-24 year olds" in Canada, according to as one president of a market research firm. In China, despite calls to boycott Canadian products over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada, the brand's new flagship store in Beijing saw long lineups on opening day in December 2018. Woodchurch High School in Birkenhead, England has banned jackets from Canada Goose, Pyrenex, and Moncler in order to "poverty-proofing the school environment", in response to disadvantaged students feeling pressure from their wealthier peers with such coats.
2018 Financial results
The company’s sales have been surging higher over the last three years. Revenue increased to $591 million in fiscal 2018 from $290.8 million in fiscal 2016 for a compound annual growth rate of 42.6%.
The company reported that total revenue increased by 46.4% to $591.2 million (2018) from $403.8 million (2017). Gross profit increased to $347.6 million from $212.1 million. Operating income was $138.1 million, an operating margin of 23.4%, compared to $40.5 million, an operating margin of 10.0% in 2017.
Developments in 2019
In January 2019, Canada Goose unveiled a new collection called Project Atigi. This collection features the designs of traditional parkas from Inuit designers who came from nine communities in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. All of the parkas designed are unique and made of Canada Goose materials.
In April 2019, the company announced their plan to open a store in Milan, Italy, in Paris, France, in Minnesota in addition to three new ones in Canada (Toronto, Edmonton, Banff). These would be added to the 11 retail outlets being operated by Canada Goose at that time.
Logo and mission
The brand is best known for its distinctive red, white and blue circular logo, which is a "reverse image of the North Pole with the white representing the ocean while the islands are depicted by blue patches, encircled by lines of longitude and latitude to approximate the look and feel of a traditional Arctic Map. The outer ring of the logo contains "CANADA GOOSE" on the top and "ARCTIC PROGRAM" on the bottom, while each side has five maple leaves each. The badge is usually placed on the upper arm of a coat or jacket. Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss says “The badge makes people feel like they belong to a club”. A monochrome all-black variant of the logo is found on the brand's Black Label Collection, to cater to New Yorkers who find the standard logo too ubiquitous. The logo is nearly identical in design to that of the United States Antarctic Program.
In partnership with Polar Bears International (PBI), jackets under this collection feature the distinctive PBI royal blue colour developed by the Pantone Color Institute, and a PBI badge on the upper arm.
Under Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss, the brand has been extremely careful on what offerings to release, avoiding the tendency to place their logo on numerous products nor licensing their logo to outside manufacturers as such quick short-term profits would have diluted the brand in the long run. At a time when many other garment companies have relocated manufacturing to Asia to take advantage of lower wages, Canada Goose has refused to outsource and instead setup sewing schools in Winnipeg, Montreal, and Toronto. The company has stuck to “Made In Canada” even after selling a majority stake to Bain Capital, not only for maintaining production quality and local jobs, but also because “We are an ambassador for our country on a global stage.” A competitor to Canada Goose, Moose Knuckles, was forced to restate "Made in Canada" representations with qualifying language to clarify that it is manufactured in Canada using "Canadian and imported components", after the competition bureau accused that company of manufacturing the parkas in Asia and then putting the finishing touches on them in Canada.
In popular culture
Canada Goose has used Hollywood to promote its products. The jackets have been worn in several films, starting with The Day After Tomorrow. American model Kate Upton appeared on the cover of the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition in a bikini bottom and a Canada Goose parka. Product placement with celebrities was part of the marketing strategy when it went international in 2010.
Professional athletes have also promoted Canada Goose. During Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz's final trip to Toronto during the 2016 Major League Baseball season, Toronto Blue Jays players José Bautista and Edwin Encarnación each gave Ortiz a custom-made Canada Goose jacket, valued at US$1000.
Canada Goose jackets were also often worn on Top Gear (UK) by former hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, during winter episodes, such as the "Top Gear: Polar Special".
Sponsorships and corporate responsibility
Canada Goose products are also worn by researchers and workers in remote, cold-weather regions. Canada Goose (and Carhartt) supply parkas for participants in the United States Antarctic Program (USAP).
Canada Goose is involved in several environmental and social initiatives, including The Conservation Alliance and Polar Bears International (PBI). As part of its support to PBI, Canada Goose created a custom line of PBI products, including an aviator hat, Expedition Parka and Chilliwack Bomber; $25 from all PBI sales are donated to the non-profit organization devoted to preserving the habitat of polar bears around the world through research and education.
Canada Goose runs a Canada Goose Resource Centre program that offers fabric and materials to Northern Canadians free of charge: Pond Inlet, Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, and Kuujjuaq. Established in partnership with the North West Company and First Air in 2009, the Canada Goose Resource Centres provide local sewers with free fabrics, buttons, zippers, and other supplies to support the traditional practice in Northern Canada of making jackets and clothing for members of the community.
Canada Goose has several competitors in the high-end outerwear market, a segment which has grown considerably between 2011 to 2017. Moose Knuckles, contrasting with Canada Goose's low key advertising which relies heavily on social media, has run controversial ads, including the FUQ (Fédération unilatérale du Québec) parodying the terrorist separatist group Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) which received complaints and resulting in the brand being dropped by a retailer, and another one mimicking Kate Upton's Sports Illustrated cover where she wore a white Canada Goose Parka. Mackage, Moncler (with €1bn in turnover and 80% of their business linked to Down products), Nobis (whose founder Robin Yates was previously a vice president at Canada Goose), Parajumpers, and Woolrich are also frequently mentioned rivals.
In January 2012, Canada Goose launched a lawsuit against International Clothiers in the Federal Court of Canada for trademark infringement. Canada Goose alleged International Clothiers of intentionally designing a logo and positioning it on jackets to mimic the Canada Goose Arctic Program trademark. The International Clothiers product lines in question were the foreign-manufactured Canada Weather Gear and Super Triple Goose. Canada Goose claimed that unfair business practices were used including publishing print advertisements to promote the jackets as Canada Goose products. A settlement was reached in November 2012.
Compared to real Canada Goose coats which use duck down insulation and coyote fur trim, counterfeits use "feather mulch" and dog/cat fur trim which are less effective insulators. Canada Goose vice-president of marketing Kevin Spreekmeester was quoted as saying "If you're counting on your jacket to keep you warm in extreme temperatures and you buy a counterfeit jacket that has no down in it, then you're susceptible to frostbite or worse". Knockoffs are also usually made in Asia and retail for around $100–200 CAD, compared to the authentic coats which are produced in Canada and sell only at full price starting at $800 CAD and up. In addition, the counterfeit logo patch is often poorly sewn, in contrast to its genuine counterpart where the maple leaves are produced in fine detail. Fakes are frequently sold through counterfeit websites. As authorized retailers face long lineups and sell-outs without discounts, would-be customers are often lured by online merchants which are difficult to shut down such as on Amazon.com.
To combat counterfeiting, Canada Goose frequently reminds buyers that their offerings are only sold via authorized retailers or the company's stores, and setting up a web page enlisting the public's help to identify questionable online sites which is in turn forwarded to the RCMP to shut them down. Fake Canada Goose Jackets are also one of the many counterfeit items (along with other luxury goods, strollers, tools, generators) being handled by Project Chargeback, a collaboration between the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, credit-card companies, and banks, to scrutinize online merchant accounts. In 2011, Canada Goose began sewing hologram trademarks into its jackets as proof of authenticity.
In October 2012, Canada Goose won a legal battle against counterfeiters in Sweden. The District Court of Stockholm found five individuals guilty of felony fraud, trademark infringement, and customs offences. The Court sentenced two of the defendants to serve time in prison and also awarded Canada Goose damages of 701,000 SEK (approximately CAD$105,000).
Canada Goose, while spending a considerable amount of time and money to fight counterfeiters, has admitted that counterfeits have raised awareness for the brand, particularly in China.
Treatment of coyotes and geese
The company's jackets are often filled with down which is purchased by a sub-contractor (Feather Industries Canada) from Hutterite farmers in rural Canada. Some Canada Goose jackets use coyote fur on the hoods, which has caused protests from animal anti-cruelty activists due to the alleged use of leg-hold in addition to other types of traps. In response, Canada Goose has offered parkas without any fur, such as the Chateau and the Approach.
In 2010 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an American animal rights group, criticized Canadian politician (and later Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau and his family for wearing Canada Goose products in a family Christmas photo because of the company's use of fur.
In December 2012, Toronto Police were searching for a suspect who was likely an anti-fur activist after she "destroyed thousands of dollars worth of merchandise at several high-end stores by smearing fur garments [including those by Canada Goose] with petroleum jelly", rendering them unsalable.
Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss was criticised in 2014 by blogger Shannon Kornelsen for repeatedly refusing to meet then-11-year-old Jasmine Polsinelli, an anti-fur activist who wanted Reiss to reconsider trapping coyotes for their fur.
Following the public trading of shares in Canada Goose on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2017, PETA purchased 230 shares in the company so it could propose a shareholder resolution at Canada Goose's next annual meeting to "ask them to abandon the cruel use of fur and feathers."
A February 2019 article in Newsweek addressed the issue of the use of coyote fur on the hoods of some Canada Goose jackets. The author indicated that Canada Goose stated that it obtains the fur from sources that trap it ethically, in accordance with Canada's Agreement of International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) or by similar regulations in the U.S., a policy called Best Management Practices (BMP). After a long discussion of the various trapping practices, the author of the piece provided this conclusion:
"Strip away all the nuance, though, you're still left with one unavoidable fact: Coyotes have to die to make Canada Goose jackets. And even if that's not an issue for you, there's no way to know exactly how much the animal suffered in the process."
On 2 November 2017 PETA released an undercover video of workers handling geese alleged to be for Canada Goose products; the workers are shown packing geese into crates and then slaughtering them. A summary of the situation was published a few days later by one of Canada's national newspaper, the Globe and Mail which restated the company's intention to "operate with animal welfare in mind". This included avoidance of the "heinous practice of live-plucking"; instead, the feathers come from birds that were slaughtered, so they are a byproduct of the meat industry.
The farm shown in the video was Manitoba’s James Valley Colony Farms (JVC). The 2019 news item in Newsweek included a quote from Feather Industries, the down supplier to Canada Goose, stated that they do not use JVC Farms: "the footage portrayed in this video is not from our supply chain, [which] is held to strict standards and is heavily regulated both federally and provincially, requiring multiple inspectors throughout the process to ensure waterfowl have not been subjected to any unfair practices, inhumane treatment or undue harm". PETA disputed that claim. In any event, after the video was released, JVC promised to retrain staff to ensure that geese, in general, were treated better at their facility.
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Canada Goose and other popular brands like North Face and Patagonia say their businesses operate with animal welfare in mind. On their websites, each company attempts to assure consumers that their down is sourced ethically, from animals that are killed before plucking rather than via the heinous practice of live-plucking and as a byproduct of the meat industry, not the notoriously cruel foie gras industry which engages in force-feeding. The companies use terms such as "without unnecessary harm," "traceability," and "third-party audited" to demonstrate their concern for animal welfare.
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Wild coyotes are caught in steel leg clamps, head-crushing traps, body-gripping traps, or neck snares. Often, they're mothers who are desperate to get back to their starving pups. Once caught, these animals can spend days suffering. Some—especially the mothers—even attempt to chew off their own limbs to escape. Their slow deaths can be the result of blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene, or attacks by predators.
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The company is not without detractors. The use of hood trim made from coyote fur has drawn numerous protests, including most recently from an 11-year-old girl who hoped to ask Mr. Reiss to offer an alternative material.
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All of Canada Goose’s Hutterite down is sourced from Toronto company Feather Industries, which in turn sources its feathers from the meat industry.
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