High-end parka maker Canada Goose sees shares plucked amid international incident
Canada Goose coats, which have enjoyed stratospheric sales around the world, got a lesson in the harsh realities of global markets after Chinese netizens recently called for a boycott of the producer of pricey parkas.
The stock of Canada Goose Holdings Inc, which has done business out of Toronto since 1957, absorbed a 22 percent fleecing in the past two weeks, probably because the coats are quite popular with Chinese.
Shares fell another 6.4 percent on Wednesday in New York Stock Exchange trading, dropping $3.35 to $48.75.
The opening of a new flagship store in the Sanlitun section of Beijing’s stylish Chaoyang District was delayed last Saturday, with a sign on the door attributing the nonopening to construction.
Maybe that was the reason, and if you believe that, I have a Great Wall to sell you.
This is about economy of scale. If your products are popular in a country with 1.4 billion people, and there are calls for a boycott, well, do the math.
Canada Goose is collateral damage to the political tension resulting from the arrest at the behest of the US of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at the Vancouver airport on Dec 1. She was detained by Canadian authorities for 10 days before being granted bail.
The fact that Canada is the first word in Canada Goose’s name makes it an easy mark for Chinese consumers, many of whom have asserted their aspirational spending power by purchasing the winter wear.
Credit Suisse sees the controversy as short-lived, saying that it does not override the long-term opportunity for the company, majority owned by Bain Capital, a Bostonbased private equity firm, nor does it discount the high demand visible during store checks in China.
Canada Goose had not replied to a request for comment by press time.
The company’s trendy coats can be seen across the streets and subways of New York and are probably as much an official statement of affluence as they are used to keep warm.
While I don’t own one of the fashionable parkas with the official-looking arm patch, I always wondered why people fork over around $1,000 for one of them. (The Snow Mantra parka on the website will run you US$1,550. Even the beanie caps are north of $100.)
But they are fine-looking and well-made products, and if the market is there for them, then good for Canada Goose.
Demand, however, is also subject to the vagaries of geopolitics.
Chen Weihua, China Daily’s EU bureau chief and the owner of a Canada Goose parka that served him well on a trip to Alaska, said that “while people have the right to express their anger by boycotting Canada Goose or other Canadian goods, I am not in favor of such a boycott. This should be dealt with through diplomatic channels between China, Canada and the US.
“But I do plan to buy a Huawei cell phone next time to show my support,” Chen said.
It’s not the first controversy for Canada Goose, which has faced protests from animal rights activists for its use of down feathers, wool and fur. And because the coats are so desirable, counterfeiters have created some headaches.
The company’s jackets often contain down from Hutterite farmers in rural Canada. Some of the coats also have coyote fur trim on the hoods, which some activists oppose because of the use of leg-hold and other traps to obtain it.
“Our standards for the sourcing and use of fur, down and wool reflect our commitment that materials are sourced from animals that are not subject to willful mistreatment or undue harm,” the Canada Goose website says.
In 2010, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals criticized Justin Trudeau (before he was prime minister) and his family for wearing Canada Goose products in a Christmas photo. Then there is the issue of counterfeiting. “Made illegally in factories in Asia, the fake jackets are found on many rogue websites as well as in the flea markets of Shanghai, Beijing and Bangkok,” the company announces on its website. “Key identifiers are poor details in the embroidery along with colour variations in the stitching and/ or errors in the shapes of the maple leaves within our Arctic Disc. Amazingly, ‘Canada’ and ‘Arctic’ are sometimes spelled incorrect.”
Maybe the frost in Sino-Canadian relations will thaw, and for Canada Goose, it would be better if that happened as winter approaches.
Contact the writer at williamhen[email protected] chinadailyusa.com