TORONTO — A patriotic symbol of winter fashion is proving to be a hot-ticket summer item during the Pan Am Games.
Hudson's Bay Co. (TSX:HBC) is the official outfitter of the Canadian team, and the retailer is selling replica merchandise along with its popular red mittens, which are available year-round.
Vice-president of brand management Julie Magner says they've sold more than 4,000 pairs of mitts since the Pan Ams officially kicked off in Toronto on July 10.
Magner says Canada T-shirts are the top-selling item in the replica line with more than 20,000 sold since the Pan Am opening ceremony.
She says the bestselling jacket is the red-and-white outerwear piece dubbed the "patriot jacket," which is worn by Canada's medal-winning athletes on the podium.
Magner says since the opening ceremony, merchandise sales have surpassed what the retailer thought they would achieve.
"I think that the biggest difference is in an Olympic time frame — and especially when it comes to the Winter Olympics, but even the Summer (Games), too —we have a tendency of seeing sales happen far earlier," she said in a phone interview on Thursday.
"With Pan Ams, we basically did see the momentum, but it really started when the games started."
HBC was also the official outfitter of Canada's athletes during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Magner says it's hard to draw a comparison in terms of sales between the two events, pointing to a large superstore that was built in Vancouver to sell merchandise for the Games.
"That will always be an anomaly. I don't think you will ever be able to break that number unless we get another winter home Games."
Hudson's Bay was inspired by the 50-year anniversary of the Canadian flag for its Pan Am line, with the Maple Leaf used as a starting point for the graphics throughout the collection.
The Pan Am Games conclude on Sunday. The Parapan Am Games will be held Aug. 7-15.
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