Whether it's the bright, bold colours or their affordable prices, we in Canada can't get enough of Joe Fresh. The iconic brand launched in 2006 to such acclaim that Joseph Mimran, creator of the brand, decided to cross the border and open five shops in New York and New Jersey last year. And just a few weeks ago, a flagship store opened on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. But while we go ga-ga over Joe Fresh, we've been wondering what our neighbours to the south will think of the Canuck-beloved brand.
In an article by The New York Times, Joe Fresh is compared to the Gap circa the early 90s "when you might [have seen] someone you loved or someone you didn't know wearing the same thing you were." And though, the article claims, this was fine then, now "these items... might make you feel as if you both belong to the same very brightly attired district in 'The Hunger Games.'"
But this isn't the only place criticisms are coming from -- analysts seem to be a little concerned about the business side of things (we're talking dollars, not the latest shade of pink lipstick).
Some say moving the Loblaw enterprise to New York is only exciting for loyal followers and tourists. The American retail market is an increasingly cutthroat one and in an interview with The Financial Post, Anthony Stokan, partner at Toronto-based Anthony Russell and Associates, says, "It is certainly a daunting task to enter New York with zero brand awareness."
And though Canadian retailers such as Danier, Harry Rosen and La Senza have failed in the States due to poor reception, Mimran isn't worrying "We still think there's another 20 per cent growth available to us, but the real growth now is going to have to come from outside of Canada."
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Mimran also feels there's room in the market for good players. In an interview with The Huffington Post, he says: "Women do love to shop around and they like to have a handful of brands they like to frequent. It's not about one single brand. This is not the computer business, it's the fashion game. There isn't one department store, there isn't one specialty store."
So, for now, we're all going to have to wait and see how well the iconic orange and white label will do south of the border.
Check out some Canadian stores, which haven't had the warmest American welcome.