Canadian Retail – “Cautiously optimistic” plus new opportunities, great candidates and challenging searches!

Solid foundations, reduced uncertainty and new opportunities!

In September, the Retail Council of Canada Fall Conditions Report stated that established retailers were “cautiously optimistic”. 80% of retailers were reporting sales increases in the summer, 83% reported increased conversion rates to help offset decreased traffic, and traffic rate decreases themselves were down to low single digits. Online sales increased 13.5% YoY in summer and an increasing number of retailers reported that online sales had increased enough to meaningfully offset lower store traffic. Overall, retailers were anticipating holiday sales increases over 2018, though perhaps not according to plan.

And since then, there have been two major positive events for Canadian retail.

The NAFTA question has been settled, with a carefully structured change to the de minimus change significantly decreasing its impact on Canadian retailers. And on October 17, Canada legalized recreational cannabis, opening a market that CIBC has predicted could reach $6.5B in 2020 — just over a year away. Predictions are for thousands of new stores to be opened to retail a product that has never before been officially sold in Canada before, creating tens of thousands of jobs and making Canada a global leader in a global movement.

In addition, CBRE predicted that 2018 could see record numbers of international retailers enter Canada for the first time.

Solid foundations, reduced uncertainty and new opportunities are great news for retail in Canada — but they also increase the competition for great people.

That's where we can help! To give you some ideas of what we can deliver, we've showcased below a few examples of candidates we've worked with and roles we've worked on in today's exciting retail world.     



Director of Operations — Fashion | Toronto

District Manager — Skin Care/Bath & Beauty | Toronto

Visual Merchandising Manager — Fashion | Calgary

Senior Buyer/Product Developer — Fashion | Vancouver

These are just a few of the high performing retail professionals we've worked with: 

Director of Operations — Fashion  |  Toronto — Open to relocation

We're this candidate's biggest fan because they're driven to exceptional performance, their teams stand firmly behind them, they're a great brand advocate, and they're one of the best fashion merchants we know. As the country leader for a leading contemporary fashion brand, they were responsible for 75+ managers in the field and over $100M in combined annual sales volume, while leading the charge for opening 30 new locations across the country. Recently recognized by their executive leadership team as the #1 leader in North America for highest % achievement to plan the past 3 consecutive years, this top performer has won an incredible number of awards throughout their career, and is recognized as an outstanding identifier of talent. They simply live and breathe product, styling, service, and operations. They're willing to stay in Toronto or relocate to Western Canada - we're confident this candidate would be a winning hire wherever your organization is! 

District Manager — Skin Care/Bath & Beauty  |  Toronto

This modern day sales leader has a track record for success with leading brands in fashion, and bath & beauty. As a successful multi-unit manager of high volume, high profile retail locations in Western Canada, this proven performer is always in the top 5 for profitability, target achievement, conversion, shrink and payroll control. They're able to add value by recruiting top talent in each market, training them, and then promoting them to the next level. In terms of brand excellence, their stores are easy to shop, product is merchandised strategically to maximize gross margin, and product assortment is tailored to specific customer demographics. They're both humbled & honoured to have won awards for DM of the Year and SM of the Year. This highly dependable operator has experience in change management, turnaround scenarios and developing and implementing growth strategies — what could they do for your company? 

Visual Merchandising Manager — Fashion  |  Calgary

This proven merchant easily blends the creative with commerce, developing an inspiring visual image of in-store product presentation across broad geographic territories. With a history of working with top performing fashion retailers, they have a track record for working hand-in-hand with buyers, marketers, and merchandising teams executing key product stories each season that tell a brand and product story across all channels. With a focus on sales analytics and using data to challenge in-store merchandising strategies, this senior merchandiser knows how to impact product assortment and allocations, with the ultimate objective being to increase sales and reduce markdowns. This high performing candidate brings to the table 10 years of experience in visual merchandising in both vertical retail and multi-brand settings, If you need a visual professional who is known for their highly developed aesthetic, sense of style and understanding of consumer trends, we'd be happy to make the introduction! 

Senior Buyer/Product Developer — Fashion  |  Vancouver

Youthful and trendsetting, this candidate is both strategic and creative, with full cycle business & cross functional team management experience. Having worked for Canadian apparel and department store retailers, they have experience in the fashion, accessories and footwear market segments. Having travelled internationally to attend trade shows, qualify new vendors, source product, negotiate business terms, and consult on product design and development, this proven performer has shown season after season that they can develop and execute seasonal strategic plans to increase business contribution. They combine a broad perspective on domestic and import product development with the ability to deliver on a variety of complex merchandising assignments, and their understanding of merchandising trends and marketing are above average. How much value could they add for your organization? 


Featured Search Profiles

National Marketing Manager — Cannabis | Toronto

Store Manager — Not for profit | Edmonton

Divisional Merchandise Manager — Children's Apparel | Vancouver

Flagship Store Manager — Luxury Fashion | Montreal

These are just a few of the high performing retail professionals we've worked with: 

National Marketing Manager — Cannabis  |  Toronto

This leading Canadian lifestyle brand is ushering in a new era, with an elevated cannabis retail experience and a full collection of apparel and accessories. They needed a Marketing Manager to develop strategies, implement integrated marketing programs, and drive growth by working collaboratively with cross-functional teams including brand, merchandising, product and creative. We found them a passionate marketer who loves all things retail! They brought their entrepreneurial eye and big thinking approach to help launch this exciting new venture. With an ever-changing regulatory framework, pivoting on a dime while providing new and compliant marketing programs is the biggest challenge they face in these first few months of legalization. We delivered a marketing leader with innate talent and tons of resilience, one drawn to the turbulent world of cannabis retail's startup environment. Our client's new National Marketing Manager will be one of the most fascinating players to watch while they are positioning this high profile brand within Canada's newest retail sector. We'd be happy to help add that kind of creative and energetic talent to your team!       

Successfully filled!

Store Manager — Not for profit  |  Edmonton

As a mission-focused, non-profit enterprise, our client's goal is to build loyalty with their employees, customers and the communities they serve. They needed an exceptional store leader who could run a healthy operation, while training and coaching individuals with disabilities or other challenges to reach their potential as highly productive individuals and collaborative team members. We filled that search with a proven leader who is even now delivering outstanding results. We're proud of Pamela Loupelle of our Calgary team, who was awarded our client's Business Partner of the Year Award for this and other successful placements with this client, and we're excited about being able to promote these worthy opportunities to exceptional retail leaders. How could we help you with yours? 

Currently open!

Divisional Merchandise Manager — Children's Apparel  |  Vancouver

This rapidly expanding, premier lifestyle retailer needs a fashion executive with a strong track record for developing and implementing innovative merchant & brand strategies to build brand equity and market share growth. Their ideal candidate can successfully identify key trends & themes for the season, coordinate the buying team to lead superior merchandise selection and assortment planning, and implement marketing plans to showcase the resulting top grade product selection. They need an elevated leader who knows how to work collaboratively with the vendor community, and get the best out of their buying team. Their new DMM will need to be seasoned, with 5-10 years fashion buying experience, ideally in fashion apparel/children's wear. We're on it!

Successfully filled!

Flagship Store Manager — Luxury Fashion  |  Montreal

It's not always easy to predict which companies will succeed in Canada's retail landscape, but those that are able to innovate and bring customers new experiences are most likely to win. As one example, this dynamic retailer is expanding both nationally and internationally and is getting tons of buzz! They needed a flagship store leader to help transform their businesses with comprehensive, end-to-end retail experiences delivering extraordinary results. We found them an exceptional store leader who could lead in a high volume, high traffic environment, while still creating a very one-on-one, personalized shopping experience for their hip and trendy clientele. Our client's new Flagship Store Manager is thrilled to be part of a progressive, innovative and inclusive team of VERY inspired people who are moving the needle in the luxury fashion sector. How can we help you move the needle in yours?