Casper plans brick-and-mortar push into Canada
Casper is taking its brick-and-mortar expansion into Canada, beginning with two stores in Toronto this spring, the company said on Tuesday. Over the next year or so, more stores are planned for Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia, the Financial Post reports.
The mattress startup this year is also opening a Canadian headquarters, according to the release. And it's working to contract with Canadian manufacturers, CEO Philip Krim told the Post. The company is in talks with retailers there who could partner with them as Target did in the U.S., he said.
As in the U.S., mattress sales are brisk, and Krim told the paper that its Canadian sales are outpacing its U.S. sales at this point. Overall sales reached $300 million last year, according to the report.
Casper opened its first U.S. stand-alone stores in February, after relying on partnerships with outside retailers (and, for a while, West Elm hotels) to feature its goods within brick-and-mortar walls. The company inked a deal with Williams Sonoma-owned furniture retailer West Elm in 2016 (which has since flipped to Leesa), has run a series of pop-up stores in Los Angeles, New York and London, and now has a partnership with Target.
"We've seen tremendous success in Canada with three years of triple digit growth," said Philip Krim, co-founder and CEO of Casper. "Investing further in the market and expanding our local presence will enable us to bring better sleep to even more Canadians across the country."
Turning to physical retail has been a necessary evolution for the online startup. Traditionally, purchasing a mattress has been a sensory experience — customers go to showrooms, listen to salespeople and lie down on options to feel their comfort level. Retailers in the space often embraced humdrum showrooms and convoluted marketing, with special sales or markdown events on endless types of mattresses that made price and quality comparisons nearly impossible.
Casper and its rivals have eschewed the convoluted choices and discounting in favor of keeping their "mattress-fits-most" offers in basic bed sizes at a single price paired with long try-out times and free returns.
With sales already brisk there, Canada is a logical place to expand, though Target won't be able to serve as its partner there. The mass merchant left in early 2015 just two years after establishing its own first stores there, a debacle that left customers facing empty shelves and higher prices than in stores they shopped in the U.S.
But Casper has already made inroads there, launching operations in 2014 and last year becoming the official "sleep partner" of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. The fall of Sears could work in Casper's favor as well, as closures of Sears Canada stores give up that retailer's share of what the Financial Post, citing Euromonitor, says was a $1.8 billion industry there last year, with sales rising 6% year over year.
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