The busiest shopping day in Canada, by far, is Boxing Day. Indeed, the sales frenzy has gotten so intense, and the stories of shoppers lining up in the cold on Christmas night so common, that the deep discounting has morphed into a week-long extravaganza, stretching into January.
In recent years, the price chopping has gotten so pervasive that even notoriously sales-averse Apple, has joined the party, trimming the margins on its iPods and laptops (even if it’s mostly just the refurbished models on offer).
However, amid all of the sales-a-palooza, one cold hard truth remains: Those trendy Canada Goose jacket you see everywhere once temperature plummets are never, ever going on sale. You can wait until Boxing Day, the first week of January or the last week of July, the price is the price and isn’t going down. “We’ve become known for never going on sale,” says CEO Dani Reiss. “It’s not a strict policy,” he insists, “we’ve just never needed to do it.”
Reiss is careful to explain that he doesn’t prohibit retailers from discounting his jackets, acknowledging they certainly could if there was a surplus left over in the spring. However, he’s equally clear that Canada Goose is very strategic about picking retailers who share the values of his brand.
If this all sounds like a tightrope walk, it’s for good reason. In the U.S., the issue of manufacturers dictating the sale price has been long steeped in controversy and is now illegal. That’s why the term “suggested” retail price exists.
Canada Goose not alone
But as with every rule, there’s a way to get around it. Louis Vuitton, for instance, prides itself on never having gone on sale. The Parisian company’s aversion to ever seeing its handbags or wallets discounted led it to withdraw all its products from department stores and sell strictly through LV-owned and operated boutiques. That’s one approach. The other is to impress upon retailers that if they ever dared sully the brand, by say, tossing it in the bargain bin, or dumping it on a discount chain, that they’d never receive another shipment.
Reiss insists he’s never needed to have such conversations, explaining that his jackets either always sell out or are simply re-stocked the following winter, with demand unhindered. There’s no challenging that claim. After all, if a retailer was consistently left with a stale load of parkas every season, they would discount them, regardless of what Canada Goose wanted. Yet, it’s hard not to wonder how persuasive the company must be when a high-end clothing chain like Toronto’s Sporting Life issues $35 gift certificates, as it did recently for participants of the store’s 10km race, which cover all merchandise … except for Canada Goose.
This means, of course, that not only can the parkas not go on sale, but that no store discounts, even very limited, one-time only offers can be applied towards them. “We’re in a unique situation,” says Reiss. “Demand for our jackets has always outstripped supply.”