Canada Goose to refocus marketing investment

Despite a need to cut costs, the outerwear brand says strong ecommerce and DTC channels puts it in a good place for recovery.
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Canada Goose’s 2020 fourth quarter revenue and net income both decreased compared to the 2019 fourth quarter, with cuts to executive salaries and marketing costs expected for this year.

According to Canada Goose’s fiscal year 2020 results released on Wednesday, the company’s fourth quarter revenue ended Mar. 29, 2020 was $140.9 million, compared to $156.2 in the fourth quarter ended Mar. 31, 2019. Canada Goose’s net income also decreased from $9 million to $2.5 million over that timeframe.

On the year, as a whole, however, the company’s total revenue was up, from $830.5 million to $958.1 million. Net income also increased in that period, from $143.6 million, to $151.7 million.

“Given the underlying circumstances, I am incredibly proud of the results our team has delivered. We are actively and strategically managing through this temporary period of global uncertainty and delivering against key priorities for the business,” Dani Reiss, president and CEO of Canada Goose, said in a Wednesday press release. In a call with investors, Reiss said that the company is in a good position for recovery, whenever that is allowed to happen, due to keeping a clean balance sheet, as well as the fact that the anticipated “high point” for suspended revenue will overlap with the spring and summer, a season that already tends to be the parka brand’s low point for sales.

The company notes that it has “taken substantial measures” to strengthen its “financial viability,” including the reduction of cash expenses and investments by $90 million in Q1 of fiscal 2021. Roughly two-thirds of that is coming from the suspension of jacket production, while the rest is coming from a 20% reduction in executive salaries, Reiss continuing to forgo his salary, the abatement of rent expenses at some retail and manufacturing locations and its marketing investment. This is after a $13.8 million uptick in marketing investment in the previous fiscal year.

Canada Goose says it will “refocus” its marketing investment towards brand storytelling and e-commerce. Reiss said that investments into its ecommerce business in the past have set Canada Goose up to perform well, even if it remains the preferred shopping channel for consumers for some time.

“We’ve always been digitally native,” he said. “Ecommerce is where we began our DTC journey, and we’ve invested heavily with a long term view. We are not scrambling to build an ecommerce business overnight. What we are doing is reallocating resources and investing right now to enhance our omnichannel capabilities by our peak season.”

He added that there has been positive traffic and transactional trends on its ecommerce channels, with EVP and CFO Jonathan Sinclair adding that – for consumers that have been able to go into reopened stores – conversion has been good, as Canada Goose offers a high-priced item that people plan and seek out.

Operating income was down on the year, from $196.7 million to $192.1 million, due to lower operating margins in both DTC and wholesale channels, as well as higher corporate expenses.

Sinclair said during the conference call that Canada Goose will be focusing its efforts, especially in the early days of reopening, on its owned retail and ecommerce channels, as it allows for more control over the consumer experience and have traditional generated double the revenue and triple the profit on a unit-by-unit basis compared to wholesale channels. He adds that the company is comfortable delaying or cancelling new store openings as needed.

When asked how the brand may respond to wholesale retail partners potentially focusing on promotions and discounting, Reiss said that “with the way our brand is perceived, we are a full-price brand. Any changes in that landscape provide more opportunities to lean into our direct-to-consumer channels.”

Although it has been an arduous period for companies in the retail sector due to COVID-19, Canada Goose recognized challenges, brought on by its brick-and-mortar stores having to close, and recently pivoted to manufacturing medical gear for frontline healthcare workers and patients throughout Canada. Reiss said that being able to act fast on PPE manufacturing helped drive a spike in consumer engagement, and is currently making 100,000 gowns a week, at cost.