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.

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.
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The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.