For almost a century, Canadian Tire has been the go-to retailer for Canadians to meet their automotive, hardware, appliance, and garden supply needs. Over the past few years, however, the company has actively tried to diversify their offering, particularly with sporting goods and apparel to try and attract millennial shoppers.
Canadian Tire has normally met their diversification needs through acquisitions so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when the retailer announced their acquisition of Helly Hansen for over C$1 billion earlier this month.
Already a channel for some Helly Hansen product, Canadian Tire now has the opportunity to push more SKUs through their 1700 retail outlets across the country — Canada is Helly Hansen’s second-largest market, where it only sells about a quarter of its apparel in the Canadian market at the moment, so there is obviously a huge opportunity there.
Canadian Tire said the deal is also part of a strategy to sell its own brands internationally — Helly Hansen owns stores in more than 40 countries and counts the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, and Canada as core markets. The retailer made no indication of what own brand gear they might sell through Helly Hansen stores but I can’t imagine it would be anything other than sporting goods related — not tires.
“With our capabilities and Helly Hansen’s trusted global brand and management team, we see tremendous opportunity for Canadian Tire and Helly Hansen, in Canada and internationally,” said Stephen Wetmore, chief executive officer of Canadian Tire.
While it may seem random that a Canadian retailer would purchase a Norwegian apparel brand, Helly Hansen has actually been owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for years. Ontario Teachers’ bought a majority stake in the chain back in 2012 and worked with the company to expand its international presence.