He envisions as many as 10 to 15 outlets in all, across the country, but he won't rush his decision just because foreign rivals are jostling for space, he said. He's learned from past missteps: Almost a decade ago, Sporting Life moved into a posh downtown Toronto location that was about a quarter of the size of its standard format, which proved to be too small; it was closed a few years later.
Upscale Harry Rosen is looking to expand almost half of its 16 stores, boosting by about 25 per cent its total space in the next five years, Mr. Rosen said.
The arrival in Canada of U.S.-based Brooks Brothers a couple of years ago had a "negligible" effect on his privately held business, which enjoyed a healthy same-store sales gain of about 12 per cent in 2010 from a year earlier, he said. He's carving out his niche partly by stocking more Canadian brands: Canada Goose parkas are such a hot seller he couldn't keep them in stock by early December. He's attracting a younger clientele by carrying more slim-fitting suits and jeans.
Mr. Rosen spends 80 days a year checking out competitors around the world. to ensure he can take on any new foreign rival. "There are no surprises," he said. "I know exactly what each of those operations do. We just have to keep very focused on doing what we do better."
FOREIGN RETAIL ENTRIES
Target Corp. (discounter)
J. Crew (upscale fashion)
Zumiez (skateboard apparel)
Justice (tween fashions)
J.C. Penney (department store)
Nordstrom (upscale department store)
Saks Off 5th (discount fashions)
Dick's Sporting Goods (sporting goods)
Container Store (storage systems)
Apple Inc. (computers)
Crate and Barrel (home furnishings)
Lowe's (home improvement)
Victoria's Secret (lingerie)
Bath & Body Works
Forever 21 (cheap chic fashions)
Aerie (teen apparel and lingerie)
Journeys (shoes and accessories)
H&M (cheap chic fashion)
Bestsellers' Jack & Jones and Vero Moda and Only