U.S. outdoor-gear giant L.L.Bean has arrived in Quebec.
The retailer held the grand opening Friday in St-Bruno of the first of two planned suburban Montreal locations. The 18,000-square-foot store at Promenades St-Bruno will be followed by an 11,500-square-foot location at Faubourg Boisbriand on Sept. 29, Charlie Bruder, vice-president of international and wholesale, said in an interview with the Montreal Gazette last month.
“We feel St-Bruno and Boisbriand are the gateway to the outdoors,” Bruder said. “They are easily accessible. We did our research and those locations have a really strong demographic fit with our customers. Strategically, our other locations in the rest of Canada and the U.S. are typically focused on these types of gateway locations. It’s about trying to embrace what has worked for us in the past.”
On Friday, St-Bruno Mayor Ludovic Grisé Farand and store manager Sophie Charles held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the store while customers lined up to check out what Bruder describes as “a great, balanced lifestyle assortment.”
“We really think that we have a great, balanced lifestyle assortment, from active products to casual products, products for outdoor pursuits and products for the home,” Bruder said last month. “We do a great job of preparing people for outdoor adventures without breaking the bank, and we do it with products that are built to last.”
In the days leading up to the official opening of the St-Bruno store, the retailer’s iconic “Bootmobile” rolled through the streets of Montreal before arriving at Promenades St-Bruno.
Quebecers who travel to the U.S. — and those who shop online — are already familiar with the L.L.Bean brand. Online sales to Quebec customers have doubled in the past four years, and the Freeport, Maine-based company is hoping to once more double its revenue in the province with the opening of the bricks-and-mortar stores, according to Bruder. Quebec now accounts for about nine per cent of Canadian sales, he added.
L.L.Bean’s Montreal-area stores will be the company’s 14th and 15th in Canada. The first Canadian location, in Oakville, Ont., opened its doors in August 2019.
With files from Frédéric Tomesco of the Montreal Gazette.
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