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Canadian Outerwear Brand Spreads its Wings


A company named after the first reptile to develop the feather for flight is expanding its store portfolio.

Arc’teryx Equipment, a manufacturer and retailer of high-performance outdoor apparel and equipment, has opened a 2,300-sq.-ft. flagship in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood. It is the company’s seventh fully-owned retail store in North America, with two more locations to open by yearend.

[quote-from-article]Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Arc’teryx, which has long enjoyed loyal following, distributes its products through more than 3,000 retail locations in 40 countries worldwide. Recently, however, it has focused on taking its brand directly to consumers, both online and in the physical space.

Chain Store Age spoke with Adam Ketcheson, VP marketing and business-to-consumer, Arc’teryx, about the company’s positioning and plans going forward.

How is Arc’teryx’s positioned?

Arc’teryx is positioned as the leader in the design and manufacturing of technical apparel and equipment. We operate under industrial design principles rather than traditional apparel design principles. We stand out from our competition by consistently bringing the highest quality and innovative construction methodology that adds real value.

What is the demographic?

The typical Arc’teryx consumer is someone who shares our values around design and quality. Although we are a benchmark in the apparel industry, our brand isn’t very well know with mass consumers. However, our consumer is extremely loyal. We built that loyalty by giving people exceptional product experiences.

With a successful wholesale and online business, why did the brand decide to enter the physical space?

Every channel has a purpose with consumers. Owned retail (stores) is the best way to have a human experience with consumers, and is an important touch-point for consumers as they decide what brands they want to surround themselves with.

Tell us about the Arc’teryx store experience.

Our store experience is about working with the individual spaces to tease out local elements and materials, while at the same time making sure that the emotional experience is consistent with our global fleet. We focus on trying to inspire consumers with brand storytelling, beautiful product presentation and high service.

What is the product range in the stores?

The mix is split evenly between items for men and women. We set the floor about 60/40 men to women.

How many stores will you open in 2017?

We are aiming to open four stores in the United States and Canada. Plus, we will be updating our Montreal location.

When opening stores, what type of location do you look for? Is there an average store size that works best?

We sequence our stores in new markets by entering in urban freestanding locations, then expanding to lifestyle centers in markets where the brand has enough awareness. Our sweet spot is between 2,000 sq. f.t. and 3,000 sq. ft.

Outlet centers are booming. Will that be a part of your strategy going forward?

We look at premium outlets as part of our cluster strategy in key markets. It’s an important part of our mix, but not a growth driver.

In the online arena, Arc’teryx has made some key investments to improve its digital experience. What are some of the highlights?

We are constantly investing in digital, as we consider it to be the second most important consumer touch-point after product. And the consumer response has been very strong. Our brand is highly researched and digital is a critical part of the consumer journey. We’ll continue to invest heavily in digital so we keep pace with the consumer.

Is the brand active on social media?

We’re active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Weibo and WeChat

As it expands in its various channels, what is Arc’teryx’s biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge and opportunity, is the speed at which consumer behavior is changing. The expectations around brand experience from consumers continue to escalate as consumers look for real authentic value. As long as we stay grounded in our core values and try to inspire consumers, we should be able to adapt to whatever trend hits the channel whether that is mobile, show-rooming, demographic shifts etc.…

What’s your favorite sport?

Backcountry skiing!
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