Fashion retailer Fat Face has made its Canada debut with the opening of three new stores and six more planned for later this year, Retail Week can reveal.

Fat Face store sign

Fat Face is expanding into Canada with three new stores and another six in the pipeline

The three new stores are located at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Barrie and Newmarket, all in Ontario.

Fat Face chief executive Will Crumbie told Retail Week exclusively that the launch into Canada follows the retailer’s success in the US after its expansion into the country six years ago.

“We opened in the US in 2016 and that was very much part of a focused international expansion plan.

“We did the research and we found out either it was a German consumer or a North American consumer that probably associated themselves with the brand the best.

“We’ve opened in the US and we’ve got a lovely business there. We were already trading 40 miles south of the border in Burlington, Vermont, and we’re also open this summer in Michigan, so we’re already there.

“Canada just felt right in the balance of the US business we’ve already got, and being part of the Commonwealth as well.

“A few of us did a visit over there last April and absolutely fell in love with the country. What was a two-year plan to open next summer turned into a one-year plan of: ‘Let’s get open and see what happens’.”

Fat Face told Retail Week that the new locations “allow customers to experience Fat Face first hand, offering iconic products that the company is famous for”.

It added that shoppers can anticipate the launch of a full Canadian website next year.

“The shape of the sales in terms of department is broadly similar to the UK,” said Crumbie.

“Some bestsellers in Canada would include the Aderyn linen-blend jumpsuit, a very classic product that is great value in the market, which is really important.”

Crumbie said Fat Face had to test out malls as a location due to them being “a really important part of the Canadian shopping experience”.

“It’s not our natural habitat, but it’s something we’ve had to learn and initial trading is very encouraging. You’ve just got to get your head around the fact that’s how people shop and it’s just another learning of opening in a new country.”

Crumbie added that the Fat Face team is “always thinking one or two steps ahead” and revealed that plans for further expansion in Europe are also in the pipeline.

“I think we would tackle [Europe] slightly differently; I think it will be a digital approach as opposed to a multichannel approach.

“Europe definitely needs to be a part of our plans. I can definitely see it in the medium term.”

“The brand wants to become a leading international multichannel lifestyle brand. We’re in North America and Canada for the long term, which is very encouraging.”