Grafton studies Tip Top purchase

The president of Canadian menswear retailer Grafton-Fraser says his privately held company, which operates 123 stores under six banners across Canada, is considering the purchase of rival Tip Top, along with three other divisions within the troubled Dylex empire: Fairweather, Braemar...

The president of Canadian menswear retailer Grafton-Fraser says his privately held company, which operates 123 stores under six banners across Canada, is considering the purchase of rival Tip Top, along with three other divisions within the troubled Dylex empire: Fairweather, Braemar and Thrifty’s.

Responding to speculation that his company might be interested in taking over its rival (see Strategy, Jan. 3, 2000), Glenn Stonehouse says Tip Top has long been eating into sales at Grafton-Fraser’s Jack Fraser chain. If the terms are right, he says, he’d like to buy the chain from Dylex, which announced late last year that it was putting the bulk of its retail assets up for sale.

‘Tip Top has been going head to head with Jack Fraser for the last 80 years, and both companies have suffered,’ he says. ‘Both companies have closed a lot of stores. The merger of both companies at this point makes a lot of sense.’

He adds that if his company was successful in taking over Tip Top, both it and Jack Fraser would continue to operate in their strongest markets, while the 30 stores that overlap would be closed or converted to another banner, such as the more upscale Grafton & Co. The company also owns George Richards Big and Tall, Mr. Big and Tall, The Suit Exchange, and Timberland.

If Stonehouse is successful, Grafton-Fraser would have to build distinct brand identities for Tip Top and Jack Fraser, says retail analyst John Torella of Toronto’s J.C. Williams Group.

‘He would have to reposition both,’ Torella says. ‘Jack Fraser has always had some inclination to move up into better quality, better look and that’s a natural thing.

Zulu grows its team and makes a slate of promotions

A director of interactive production for Zulubot is among dozens of new faces and roles at the agency, in response to recent wins.
Zulu Alpha Kilo_New Zuligans

Toronto indie shop Zulu Alpha Kilo had made several new hires and promotions on the heels of new business and also organic growth from existing clients.

Zulu could not officially announce the account wins at this time.

However, it can report that Ece Inan, most recently at Toronto design and tech shop Array of Stars, has been named the agency’s new director of interactive production for Zulubot, the agency’s production arm. In the new role, Inan will lead AR, VR, voice and other digital innovation projects.

Also on the production side, James Graham, who has spent the last 17 years with Grip, has joined the agency as its studio director.

Zulu has also made numerous additions on the client services side, led by Michael Brathwaite, also from Grip, as account director.

It’s also announced a spate of new account supervisors, including Hayley Blackmore (from G Adventures), Risa Kastelic (from BT/A), Kara Oddi (also from BT/A), Emily Anzarouth (also from Grip), Chris Rosario (from FCB/Six) and Sarah Shiff (from Rethink).

In addition to the new hires (pictured above), the agency has also announced several promotions: Alyssa Guttman moves from account director to group account director, while Nina Bhayana, Michelle Fournier, Jenn Gaidola-Sobral and Erin McManus have all been promoted to account director, and Haley Holm to account supervisor. On the strategy team, strategists Carly Miller and Spencer MacEachern have both been promoted to strategy director, while Shaunagh Farrelly, who has been with Zulu for two years in a client service role, moves into a new role as a digital strategist.

In December, the shop also announced that Stephanie Yung would be returning to the agency after a stint in New York as its head of design. Recent wins the agency has been able to announce including work as AOR for the Ottawa Senators, as well as a new arrangement with existing client Consonant Skincare, setting up an in-house team to support growth after taking an equity stake in the company.

Zulu president Mike Sutton says it’s wonderful, in a new year, to welcome new faces and energy to the team and says the agency is fortunate to have had so many people across the agency step up to support its clients.

“Simply put, they were rock stars, and the promotions are very well deserved,” Sutton says.