Ask most people about Canada’s imprint on the denim business, and you’re likely to get at least one Canadian tuxedo quip in response. To a legacy U.S. company like Levi Strauss & Co., our neighbor to the north represents business opportunities found — and seized.
“Business has been rapidly growing, is the best way to put it,” Diana Dimitian, managing director of Levi’s® Canada, says. “We have had a really phenomenal ride in Canada.”
The growth really started to take off in 2015, about the same time Diana took on her current role managing the country’s business. Diana and the Canadian team have been described as dynamos by colleagues, and are strident advocates of our brands.
Levi’s® has expanded its presence and visibility across the market, in wholesale channels and retail (owned and operated, as well as through franchises). Canada went from four owned-and-operated stores to 10 in 2016, and by year’s end, Diana says that number will go up to 13, with two new locations planned for Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta.
But it’s not just a brick-and-mortar approach. This fall, Canadian customers will finally be able to shop online through its own in-country e-commerce channels for Levi’s® and Dockers®.
So, what’s driving this growth? Diana credits significant gains in the women’s Levi’s® business, solid growth in Levi’s® Men’s across the board, as well as the success of Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™ jeans. Overall, the Canada business has benefited from the fact that Levi’s® is increasingly being seen as a true lifestyle brand — expanding beyond bottoms into tops, Trucker jackets, outerwear, and more seasonal accessories.
Head-to-toe opportunities notwithstanding, Diana speaks highly of Levi’s® heritage and leadership in denim.
“The consumer is gravitating towards us,” she said. “Denim is very much in bloom, and one of the things I think we’ve done very well is foster that love. It’s not an either/or situation whether it’s our denim leadership, or everything else in our portfolio and categories — all boats are rising here in regards to the Canadian business and our momentum.”