Loblaw’s Joe Fresh Sees Big Things Ahead in U.S.

Discussion
Oct 13, 2011
George Anderson

Most of the U.S./Canada retail news recently has been about chains from this side of the border looking northward to expand. But now comes word that Loblaw’s Joe Fresh clothing chain is opening stores in New York City and the surrounding area.

"U.S. shoppers got the first taste of our fabulous style, quality and price at the Hamptons shop this past summer," said Joe Mimran, creative director, Apparel, Home and Entertainment for Loblaw, in a press release. "The response to the brand in the United States so far has been extraordinary and now we’re excited to be bringing our full range of fashion to one of the most vibrant cities in the world."

Six new locations, including two pop-up Joe Fresh holiday shops, are getting set to open. The Joe Fresh brand has grown into a $1 billion (Canadian) brand since it was first launched in 2006. Mr. Mimran sees Joe Fresh eventually opening up to 800 stores across the U.S.

According to Loblaw, the first two permanent Joe Fresh stores will open in Bridgewater Commons in Bridgewater, NJ and Roosevelt Field in Garden City, NY this month. A 9,800 square foot store in Manhattan’s Flatiron district is slated to open next month. The brand’s first flagship store in the U.S, will open next spring in Midtown Manhattan at Fifth Avenue and 43rd Street. The two Joe Fresh Holiday pop-up locations opening this month in Manhattan will offer more edited selections.

The permanent stores will offer clothing for both men and women (Bridgewater will also have kids’ fashions). The Joe Fresh brand specializes in stylish clothing at affordable prices. The company listed items among its fall fashion standouts including: $4 nail polish in shades such as Khaki, Pumpkin, and Teal; denim for men, women and kids ($14-$59); and brightly coloured neoprene jackets for women ($99).

Elle decribed Joe Fresh as "a bit culty" with styles that range from "peppy, nicely made, current-but-not-runway-slavish sportswear" to "avant-garde signature pieces."

Howard Davidovitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, said Mr. Mimran’s experience with the Club Monaco brand in the U.S., later sold to Ralph Lauren, should benefit Joe Fresh.

"It’s not nearly as risky for someone who has gone through and dealt with all of the issues. He’s done it and done it successfully," Mr. Davidovitz told The Globe and Mail. "I think he’s got an above-average chance to be successful, more than 50 percent, and that’s pretty good."

Discussion Questions: What will it take for Joe Fresh to make it in the U.S.? Will Joe Mimran’s experience with Club Monaco increase Joe Fresh’s chances for success?

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8 Comments on "Loblaw’s Joe Fresh Sees Big Things Ahead in U.S."


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Justin Time
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

Having purchased and worn Club Monaco and Joe Fresh, I don’t see the strong similarities.

I think Joe Fresh is a greatly styled casual label and superior in quality and price to J.Crew.

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
9 years 6 months ago

I have to agree on the Joe Fresh cult following comment. People love this line here in Canada. Huge selection and great pricing (and the convenience of being in a grocery store) is what made it so popular. Many people thought it was wrong (me included) for Loblaws to expand into apparel at the grocery level but they executed the section so well and have solved their stocking problems (at least on the apparel side) that the program works.

Now the question is, will the line work as well on its own? The timing could be perfect as consumer look for value anywhere they can. The problem is that they are facing huge competition south of the border in this category and Joe Fresh’s success is pinned on the convenience of it being available at Loblaws. And as for Club Monaco, two very different customers you are dealing with here. Value conscience versus style conscience and the two have never worked very well together.

Fabien Tiburce
Guest
Fabien Tiburce
9 years 6 months ago

Joe Fresh has done something few can: it sells fashion to fashionistas and “regular” folks (like yours truly) alike. Joe Fresh is neither “intimidating” nor overpriced and yet my wife and her girlfriends swear by it. And guess what: I now have two pairs of Joe Fresh jeans, 3 shirts, etc. I am bullish on Joe Fresh accessible fashion at affordable prices.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

The Joe Fresh concept is exciting and it’s gotten loads of press — but there’s not much merchandise. Until the selection is pumped up, sales won’t achieve their potential.

Ronnie Perchik
Guest
Ronnie Perchik
9 years 6 months ago

I’d be interested to hear about their marketing strategy, specifically around nontraditional. Joe Fresh has already implemented pop-up stores, which is great. But what about digital?

Brands today, particularly in apparel, need to be competitive online. There’s so much potential content with fashion, and Joe Fresh could really benefit, especially considering their cult following, in getting involved in social media. Or follow in Macy’s footsteps, and jump on the technology train to present Joe Fresh as a tech-friendly, modern brand to Americans.

There’s opportunity on the digital front and Joe Fresh taking advantage.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
9 years 6 months ago

Maybe name recognition? If you happen to be one of the one-in-a-huge-number of Americans who have heard of Loblaw’s, it’s undoubtedly as a grocer, so when you see a name like “Joe Fresh,” your thoughts are, maybe, scones, haggis and — of course — maple syrup…but not clothing. And then there’s the fact that there are a gazillion-and-one other stores that offer “fabulous style, quality and price”; other that that, I don’t see any problems at all. I wish them well.

Anne Bieler
Guest
Anne Bieler
9 years 6 months ago

Joe Fresh is ready to impact the US apparel market with the right mix of on trend styles and good value. The experience at Club Monaco gave insight into choosing the big trends/colors to balance the assortment, and a keen sense of timing to keep the displays enticing.

Mimram is a fashion designer, who delivers an integrated line, with consistent execution in sizing and fabrication. Many “value” merchandisers pick from a range of suppliers, adding variety, but for easy, breezy style and convenience, Mimram has it right.

Key to growth will be execution — keeping the fashion focus tight and timely, adapting as the learning curve develops and yes, those supply management issues are even more important in US retail.

Rick Boretsky
Guest
Rick Boretsky
9 years 6 months ago

This can be a great Canadian success story. So successful in Canada, along with Mr. Mimran’s experience, I think they can bring the same successful model to the US. I wish them the best of luck on their entry into the US.

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