Reitmans Ltd. (RET/A), the largest Canadian fashion retailer by market value, is expanding its Thyme Maternity brand into the U.S. with an agreement to open stores across the country in Babies “R” Us locations operated by Toys “R” Us Inc. (TOYS)
The Montreal-based company will open shop-in-shops in 150 Babies “R” Us stores this month and will be available to U.S. customers through the retailer’s website, the company said in a statement today. Thyme Maternity already has 20 shops in Babies “R” Us locations in Canada.
“The advantages that we see is that we have existing real estate, proven real estate in the bigger box stores, and they certainly have established traffic, and we can thrive off that traffic,” said Jeremy Reitman, the company’s chief executive officer by phone from Montreal.
Reitmans is following Loblaw Companies Ltd. (L) in using the shop-in-shop concept as a fast and inexpensive way to move south as the Canadian retail market gets more competitive with the expansion of U.S. giants like Target Corp. (TGT) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) Loblaw announced in July it would sell its Joe Fresh clothing label at 700 J.C. Penney Co. Inc. stores across the U.S.
Jeremy Reitman said the company has attempted U.S. expansion before but has been unsuccessful. This latest venture could “grow significantly,” and Reitmans may consider bringing more of its brands to the U.S. if Thyme is successful. The company also operates Reitmans, RW & Co., Penningtons and Addition Elle banners.
“We’re estimating we should be able to produce substantial volume over the years and it should add to our bottom line,” said Reitman.
Reitman fell 29 cents or 2.4 percent to C$11.88 at the close in Toronto today and has fallen 20 percent this year.
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