Canada Goose’s smartest business move was expanding beyond Canada

Ready for the arctic, but all over New York.
Ready for the arctic, but all over New York.
Image: Reuters/Fred Thornhill
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Walk around the cities of the northeastern US on a frosty day and you’ll see a common sight: People cocooned in big, down Canada Goose parkas, often with the company’s distinctive coyote-fur trimmed hoods.

Canada Goose may still be headquartered in Canada, where it manufactures most of its products, but as of last year, the homegrown Canadian label’s biggest market has been the US. Between 2014 and 2016, it increased its US sales more than 200%, and the company believes it still has plenty of room to grow in the States.

Today (Feb. 15), the company filed for its initial public offering with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, revealing its sales numbers and ambitions for the years ahead in the process.

Though already an international brand (its products are sold at stores throughout Asia and Europe), Canada Goose has made expansion in the US its focus recently, particularly the affluent Northeast.

The strategy has paid off. The pricey outerwear—each coat generally ranges from $700 to $1,200—was seemingly everywhere in New York in 2015. Despite (or perhaps because of the cachet of) its origins producing outerwear for expeditions in the coldest parts of the world, Canada Goose jackets have become a luxury product sold at fancy stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom, in addition to outdoor shops. (It has also stealthily taken over movie wardrobes.) In 2016, the company recorded $103.4 million in sales in the US, topping its $95.2 million in Canada and the combined $92.2 million it earned across the rest of the world.

In its IPO filing, the company notes that a consumer survey conducted on its behalf found brand awareness of around 16% in the US, compared to 76% in Canada, suggesting to the company that there are many Americans who simply don’t yet know they want a Canada Goose parka. “We believe there is a large white space opportunity in other regions such as the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Pacific Northwest,” the company wrote.

More broadly, the brand plans to grow in all markets down the road. The major disruptions it anticipates are largely related to the company’s ability to keep convincing shoppers to buy its high-priced, premium jackets—and potential material sourcing issues.

Problems with its supplies of goose down or coyote fur, for example, could force the company to alter designs, discontinue products, or raise prices. Animal-rights activists would certainly be pleased if the company had to abandon the fur trims it uses on many of its jackets. They frequently protest at New York stores selling Canada Goose products.

For now, however, coyotes are still plentiful, and Canada Goose’s US expansion shows no signs of stopping.