Harry Rosen suits up for battle with competitors
Menswear chain ready to face rivals from U.S.
Celebrating 60 years of business and with annual sales of $300 million, Harry Rosen has much to cheer about these days.
Since Harry Rosen and his brother Lou opened their first store in Toronto in 1954, the retailer has built a reputation synonymous with style and service.
With 17 stores in seven major Canadian markets and 1,000 employees, the company offers customers some of the world’s leading brands. It has weathered economic upheaval over the years by following a mostly conservative path and shying away from expanding into the U.S. or abroad.
The formula is a winning one, given that it has cornered more than 40 per cent of the high-end menswear market in Canada.
This spring, the Retail Council of Canada recognized Larry Rosen — the oldest of founder Harry Rosen’s four children — as the Distinguished Retailer of the Year, and the store was named one of the 10 most influential menswear stores in North America by MR, a leading menswear industry magazine.
All of this adds to the festive atmosphere as the company embarks on an ambitious $100-million capital expansion program — the most aggressive in its history — to update tired stores and unveil new flagship stores.
There was a new ad campaign in the spring, a beefed-up online plan to grow sales to five times the current business, and more investment in designer duds from top brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Etro, Zegna, Ralph Lauren and Brunello Cucinelli.
“Our clients are the leaders of the country. Our competition is the best stores in the world. It’s international and we aren’t afraid of that,” says Larry Rosen, 58.
“This is a milestone year for us,” Rosen says. “As we celebrate the past, we are focusing on the future and getting ready for the American invasion.
“With Saks and Nordstrom moving into Canada, we’re at centre court in all the same markets. We’ve accelerated our expansion program because of this. Everywhere they go, we’re upgrading and opening before them.”
Larry worked in his father’s stores throughout high school. When the company started expanding across the country in the 1980s, he left his career as a corporate lawyer to join the family business.
Harry Rosen, 83, stepped down from active duty in 2005, but still spends many Saturdays visiting one of eight stores bearing his name in the Toronto area, chatting with customers and staff.
“We don’t live in ivory towers,” Larry says. “I personally call customers, answer Ask Harry questions, visit the stores and look over merchandise.
“We’re close to our business and deal with the good and the bad. My dad taught me that. We often get asked to open a women’s store, but our strategy remains to be the best at what we do,” he said. “Just because we are in Canada doesn’t mean we can’t be the best.”
Larry Rosen is appointed CEO.
Named one of 50 best-managed companies.
E-commerce is launched at HarryRosen.com
Recognized as one of Canada’s 10 most-admired corporate cultures.
Embarks on 60th anniversary celebration, announcing $100-million expansion program with new 32,000-square-foot store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall and 18,000-square-foot store at Rideau Centre, and extensive updates to several flagship stores.
Larry Rosen, CEO of Harry Rosen, is determined to meet the challenge from rivals Saks and Nordstrom.