By Craig Patterson
Swedish fashion retailer Lindex is expanding into Canada by rolling out stores in major markets. The company is seeking a Canadian partner for the expansion which will launch this spring when the Lindex management team fromGothenburg visits Toronto.
“We are very excited to be bringing our brand to Canada and strongly believe that our affordable fashion, values and practices of sustainability will hit home with consumers. Our team is currently at the stage of searching for a partner who will get exclusivity for opening Lindex stores in Canada. Our initial target is shopping centres in large cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver” says Johan Isacson, Director of Franchise at Lindex.
Lindex, which is Sweden’s second-largest fashion brand, has almost 500 stores globally in 18 countries, including Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Poland, Iceland, Great Britain, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and in Tunisia. It employs more than 5,000 people globally and has revenues exceeding $950 million (Canadian dollars) annually.
The retailer was founded in 1954 and has divisions including women’s fashion, lingerie, kids’ wear and cosmetics. In October of 2007, Helsinki Finland-based Stockmann bought Lindex. Stockmann is a company that includes a department store chain by the same name, which might be considered to be the equivalent of Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company.
“Canada is a highly attractive market for Swedish retailers”, according to Lydia Engholm, Trade Commissioner at Business Sweden Canada. “Similar disposable income, cultural values and need for various seasonal clothing makes Canada and Sweden easily comparable fashion markets. Sustainability is becoming an increased focus for Canadian consumers, which will poise Lindex to be a successful brand”, she said.
Sustainability is a focus for Lindex, which prides itself on exceptional product quality and responsible production in cooperation with over 150 suppliers globally. Its core company values include socially responsible business practices, reliable design and sustainable materials. Lindex says that it has committed to become one of the world’s most responsible and sustainable fast fashion companies, with a corporate goal of having 80% of its clothing material coming from sustainable sources by the year 2020. Currently, Lindex is among the top 10 clothing companies in the world when it comes to buying organic cotton and, remarkably, its newborn collection is made from 100% organic cotton.
Lindex falls into the ‘fast fashion’ category both in pricing as well as product turnover. The company has a team of designers that create new collections for Lindex stores every week. Designer collaborations are part of Lindex’s success, as well and over the years, Lindex has collaborated with world-renowned fashion designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Matthew Williamson, Narciso Rodriguez and Italian design house Missoni. Lindex has also worked with celebrity models including Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon and Penelope Cruz.
Recently, Lindex successfully entered Iceland and it already has seven stores as well as an e-commece platform in the country with only 340,000 people. As well, Lindex has announced that it plans to open a dozen stores in Poland, where it’s already enjoying considerable success.
In Canada, Lindex is looking to open brick-and-mortar stores while at the same time, it plans to also launch an e-commerce platform in cooperation with its new partner. Full-line stores in Canada are expected to average between 5,000 square feet and 7,000 square feet each and the company is looking to a long-term plan that will include multiple locations in shopping centres and on commercial high streets. What’s interesting about Lindex is its flexibility — smaller spaces might be utilized individually for Lindex kids’ wear or lingerie, for example, or a combination of categories depending on location and demand.
Lindex is working with Business Sweden Canada in the search for a Canadian strategic partner, as well as an area developer with experience in management and strong knowledge of the local retail market. This partner will creatively, actively and professionally lead and invest in the development of the Swedish brand on the Canadian market. If interested, contact Agata Leszkiewicz, e-mail: Toronto@business-sweden.se, telephone +1 416 640 7477.
Craig Patterson, now based in Toronto, is the founder and Editor-in-Chief Retail Insider. He’s also a retail and real estate consultant, retail tour guide and public speaker.