Canada Goose CEO says experiential store offers a 'break from the insanity of the world today'

Key Points
  • Canada Goose, famous for its extreme weather outerwear, opened a store in Toronto late last year that offers shoppers a unique experience. 
  • The company's CEO says the experience is still a draw for shoppers, even during the pandemic. 
  • "It's kind of a break from the insanity of the world today. I think it has done really well," CEO Dani Reiss said. 
Canada Goose's products have a price tag that can top $1,000.
Source: Canada Goose

Canada Goose's CEO said Friday the retailer's recently opened experiential store in Canada is "almost built for this environment," as consumers brave enough to venture outside are looking for things to do during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Naturally, it is socially distanced," Chief Executive Dani Reiss told CNBC in a phone interview Friday afternoon, about the store. "There are not a lot of people shopping at once. It is an experience in a controlled way." 

Canada Goose, famous for its extreme weather outerwear, opened the location in the CF Sherway Gardens Mall in Toronto late last year, before the Covid-19 crisis began. 

This particular store, the first of its kind for the company, has no inventory for shoppers to take home. Instead, the coatmaker wants consumers to have a multisensory experience to feel why the outerwear is worth the price tag, which can top $1,000. It calls it "The Journey." And the shop is built with a cold room showcasing Canada Goose's gear — with one room spitting out snow. 

"There has been a pretty healthy flow of traffic of people going through the experience," Reiss explained how shoppers are returning in recent weeks, against the backdrop of a pandemic. "It's kind of a break from the insanity of the world today. I think it has done really well." 

Retailers are all trying to find ways to draw customers back to shop again, albeit safely. 

But many shoppers say they are fearful of returning to shops where others are shuffling through racks of clothing and other accessories. 

The "Elements Room" inside Canada Goose's newest location, which allows shoppers to experience its products. The room will change depending on the season.
Source: Canada Goose

Although retail traffic declines in the U.S. had been decelerating week-over-week, they recently accelerated again, according to ShopperTrak data, with Covid-19 cases still surging in hot spots like Florida and Texas. A number of retailers, including Sur La Table, Neiman Marcus, J.Crew and Brooks Brothers, have been pushed to the brink and filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic. 

Similar to in North America, in Canada, "some parts are very open and some are not," Reiss said. "It's almost too early to draw trend lines specifically." 

Unlike some of its retail peers that operate hundreds of stores, however, Canada Goose only has 20 locations today. The company is still looking to open more. That makes it one on a seemingly shorter and shorter list of names continuing to grow in bricks-and-mortar, as many other retailers shut their doors for good. 

When it reported earnings, Canada Goose last month said it expected "a negligible level of revenue" in the June quarter, citing the impact from Covid-19 and the seasonality of its business. 

"We're on the road to recovery," Reiss told CNBC. 

"As we get into our season ... and it gets colder, people want to go for walks outside," he added about consumers needing to invest in a winter coat later this year. Especially if many indoor facilities like gyms happen to be shut. "People see our products as an investment product. It keeps you super warm. Our products are considered essential products." 

Canada Goose shares are down about 38% this year. 

Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss on new concept store with no inventory
Canada Goose CEO Dani Reiss on new concept store with no inventory