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Express

Coruscanti Cognoscente

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So happy to hear about Express coming here. It's my next favourite store after Simons. Soon I won't have to travel to the US or Montreal any more for my shopping!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/us-retail-invasion-gathers-pace/article1877963/

January 21, 2011
U.S. retail invasion gathers pace
By MARINA STRAUSS
From Friday's Globe and Mail
Another two major fashion chains to set up shop before Target opens doors

Two more major U.S. retailers have confirmed they will open stores in Canada this year, beating out giant American discounter Target Corp. by almost two years and highlighting the frenzy of foreign demand for domestic mall space.

Express Inc., the sixth-largest American fashion chain, will open its first six stores in Canada this year and a total of 50 in five years, executive vice-president Matt Moellering said.

Zumiez Inc., the hot skateboard apparel retailer that considered bidding for Canadian rival West 49 last year, is also launching its first outlets here this year.

"Everything we've seen and read from other retailers and the uniqueness of our business model tells us we will be very successful up there," Trevor Lang, chief financial officer at the Everett, Wash.-based chain, told analysts recently. It will start with a "handful" of stores in Canada this year before getting "more aggressive."

The impending entry of new chains underscores the growing appeal of the Canadian retailing landscape in an economy more buoyant than many U.S. and European markets. But it also puts pressure on existing merchants to raise their game and snag quality locations in an increasingly tight retail property market.

"The supply side of the equation is changing," said Donald Marleau, a credit analyst at Standard & Poor's. "It means more selection for consumers in virtually all segments ... That's where the Canadian retailers will find themselves walking the tightrope between a potentially difficult cost environment and competition that is just getting more and more intense."

It all points to a challenging 2011 for retailers, Mr. Marleau said. The merchandising market will probably grow modestly by about 3 per cent this year, roughly the same as in 2010, he estimated. At the same time, consumers - grappling with record debt levels - are demanding low prices while retailers struggle with higher costs for goods.

Nevertheless, the economics of Canadian retailing can be attractive. Domestic retailers generated $578 of sales per square foot in malls - excluding department-store anchor tenants - compared with $398 (U.S.) among U.S. mall retailers, according to September figures from the International Council of Shopping Centers.

In a bid to cash in on the Canadian market, Target Corp. of Minneapolis announced last week a $1.8-billion (Canadian) deal to buy most of the Zellers stores and convert many of them to the Target banner by early 2013. Rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and home improvement specialist Lowe's Cos. are among U.S. retailers expanding here this year.

"Canadian retailers will just have to be just a bit more focused," said Rick Chad of executive recruiter Chad Management Group. Sears Canada could be hurt the most, he added. Weighed down by weakening results, Sears competes head-on with the newcomers.

Express of Columbus, Ohio, which runs more than 580 stores catering to twenty-somethings, is set to add further pressure on incumbents. A "rising star" that competes with such upscale fashion chains as J. Crew - which is also launching in Canada this year - and Gap Inc.'s Banana Republic, Express is breathing new life into its operations, said Neely Tamminga, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. in Minneapolis. It has a formula of testing out-of-season products to keep on top of trends and minimizing the need to slash prices on unpopular merchandise, she said.

"In 2011 and beyond, Express stands to break through its historical peak of $344 (U.S.) [sales per square foot] and move closer to a peer average of $419," she said.

Lorraine Hutchinson, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in New York, predicted that Express will adjust to the Canadian retail landscape by tweaking its logistics, labelling and promotions for the market. "We expect Express to easily adapt to these changes and run a profitable business in Canada," she said.

Zumiez, the leading U.S. action sports apparel retailer, enjoyed a 9.2-per-cent jump in December same-store sales, which was below analysts' consensus estimate of 11.2 per cent but still "a great holiday season," said analyst Jennifer Black, president of Jennifer Black & Associates in Lake Oswego, Ore.

Zumiez's results are being bolstered by an improved e-commerce site and burgeoning lines of edgy fashions, she said. "The company's unique and exclusive product offerings make [their stores] a clear destination in the mall."
 

khristopher

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Express seems to be just another store like A&F, with a slightly more casual look. Even similar prices. Not what I'd necessarily call "affordable". $100 jeans are nor affordable by any means. $50 is more like it.
 

Coruscanti Cognoscente

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Express seems to be just another store like A&F, with a slightly more casual look. Even similar prices. Not what I'd necessarily call "affordable". $100 jeans are nor affordable by any means. $50 is more like it.
They have decent sales. That's how I found out about Express. I was walking down the Magnificent Mile and saw lots of people with Express bags, and then when I walked by an Express store I saw big signs that said SALE and decided to take a peak. :)

I'd say Express is definitely more dressy than A&F. A&F is very casual IMHO.
 

samsonyuen

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I've always thought of Express as Gap mixed with Mexx. The quality isn't there, and the prices aren't that low either. The more competition the better, I guess.
 

Greg

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I love Express. The clothing is definitely a step up from Abercrombie and Fitch. You won't find their name all over the clothing, often times just a small lion. You can get everything here from t shirts and flip flops, to a suit. They have great selection. The prices are on the higher end of mid-range, but they do have great sales and aggressive e-mail coupons and advertising. I assume this is one of the "first to market" stores we will see opening up in the Yorkdale expansion.
 

grey

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Express seems to be just another store like A&F, with a slightly more casual look. Even similar prices. Not what I'd necessarily call "affordable". $100 jeans are nor affordable by any means. $50 is more like it.
It's basically an American version of Mexx, though more conservative. I guess Armani Exchange is another comparison.

A&F is more associated with hoodies and sweats and the college-age demographic. Waaaay more casual.
Express (and AX) are more geared towards 30 year olds living in their parents' basements watching Entourage.
 
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FAC33

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It's basically an American version of Mexx, though more conservative. I guess Armani Exchange is another comparison.

A&F is more associated with hoodies and sweats and the college-age demographic. Waaaay more casual.
Express (and AX) are more geared towards 30 year olds living in their parents' basements watching Entourage.
Ah, how things have changed. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I'm an American transplant to Toronto. In fact, I grew up in Columbus, OH, and regularly shopped at the second Limited store ever opened. I believe the Express store beside it may have been the first of the chain, and it was known as Limited Express. The Limited was originally more preppy (this was the early 80s), while Express carried clothes with more of a "Euro" flavour.
 

prosperegal

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Express is really for new grads looking for business casual clothes. I'm more looking forward to J.Crew (though I'll likely still be shopping online at times because they don't carry petites in stores).
 

Coruscanti Cognoscente

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I wrote on Express's wall asking when they'll be opening in Toronto. They replied "Express Hi Daniel. Please give us a call at 1-800-477-8844 for mroe info."

What kind of response is that? :-/
 
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