468 Retail and Channel Management Blog

Saturday, January 30, 2016


A staple of the Canadian athletic-inspired garment market, Roots has consistently relied on their strong sales of leather goods while incorporating a more fashion-oriented forward operation. Roots has operated in Canada since 1973, when Michael Budman and Don Green opened their flagship store on Yonge Street in Toronto, since, Roots has been a predominant Canadian retailer. Worn by elite athletes as well as celebrity’s over the last 40 years, Roots has managed to make its clothing attainable for the average and the affluent.

The Roots retail space has transformed with the brand over the years, yet has managed to maintain the theme of Canadian heritage as you walk through the store. The wooden accents of most of Root’s older locations, gives a “lakeside cabin” feel to the store as you are able to easily look through a variety men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel. The stores simple layout makes it clear which sections are intended for which consumer and the scattered leather accessories that have always been the heart of the Root’s brand provide a constant reminder of how far this product line has come. Some of Root’s newer locations, such as the Bloor St. W. Flagship location in Toronto have a more modernist approach utilizing knotty oak, and accents of leather and brass to create a more minimalist space. Despite the different visual that this location holds, the “indoor-outdoor” vibe remains prominent.

Roots has stayed true to the values and beliefs that the company entered the market with in 1973, even through the recent transition of losing Michael Budman and Don Green as primary share holders in the company as a private shareholder took primary stock of the company. The Roots website makes it clear that core values of commitment to health, wellness, and protecting Canada’s outdoors have been maintained. Further, it displays that the Roots brand is committed to positively influence the communities in which it is located which is exactly what Canadians want to hear about the brands they support. Buying domestic is in vogue and Roots has not been caught off guard. Their Canadian fabrication centre gives customers the option to conscientiously reinvest in the national economy albeit with lukewarm price adjustments. Despite having to relocate some of the company’s production to Bangladesh, Root’s has been very transparent about the treatment of employees in these factories, as well as the companies intent to keep leather production in Toronto in the future, despite the challenges that brings to the company. 

It is no surprise that the success faced by Roots is not limited to the Canadian market! Root’s has experienced immense success in the Asian market. The lifestyle that Roots emanates is very well received as the values discussed above resonate well with the progressive nature of the Asian market. In a part of the world where bottles of “Banff Air,” ( a vitality air product)  sold out quickly and with ease it makes sense that the Roots Brand would face success; visible through the easy connection of Roots clothing and outdoor adventuring in the Banff air!

A photo taken from the Roots Lookbook

Roots makes me feel at home, whether it be seeing a stand in an airport, or stopping in over a trip to the mountains, the cozy vibe of the retail environment has always made me feel comfortable. I can only hope that Roots can sustain its success into the future, while maintaining the core values that have been the focus of this brand for the past 43 years.




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