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Kit and Ace pulls the plug on international stores

  • News
  • April 28, 2017
  • Sarah Dunn
Kit and Ace pulls the plug on international stores

Canada-based athleisure retailer Kit and Ace dipped its toes into the New Zealand market recently, opening a series of pop-ups followed by a store in Auckland’s Britomart, which closed at the start of this year. The brand has now abandoned its international strategy, however, announcing it will shutter stores outside Canada to focus on an ecommerce strategy instead.

Kit and Ace district director Anna Strand said in an email in January that Kit and Ace had decided to close its Britomart location. It had planned to remain there until March 2017, with six more stores around New Zealand to follow within the next three to five years.

Strand said in January that the closure was “not forever”.

“We've made strong local connections in New Zealand, and built out a great network – the brand is planning to be back in New Zealand in the future,” she said. “I know that the brand will be back (and remember we still have www.kitandace.com) but right now, it’s just not the right time for the business from a global perspective.”

The company has now announced that it will close all stores in the US, Australia and the UK as it shifts its focus to online sales and its nine Canadian outlets. The fate of Kit and Ace’s Japanese stores has not been mentioned in international media, but these also seem to have closed.

Kit and Ace was founded in 2014 by Lululemon’s former head of design Shannon Wilson and her stepson JJ Wilson, who are the wife and son of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson.

The company attempts to fill a gap in the athleisure market by providing functional and comfortable apparel made from its range of luxurious proprietary fibres. Machine-washable “technical cashmere” is its flagship product.

Kit and Ace has grown rapidly over the past three years, but also had a series of layoffs last year. At the beginning of 2016, it had 61 outlets and around 700 staff worldwide, but cut 10 percent of its head office start in February, then approximately 20 percent of the remaining 280 later in the year. The number of jobs affected by these recent closures was undisclosed by the privately-owned company.

Comments on social media imply the company may not have informed its staff before announcing the closures.

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Showpo: Monitoring and monetising social marketing

  • News
  • April 19, 2018
  • Courtney Devereux
Showpo: Monitoring and monetising social marketing

Online clothing retailer Showpo boasts an impressive social media reach, using different platforms to promote its brand to its audience of over two million. We spoke to chief marketing officer of Showpo, Mark Baartse, about the best way to market on social media and if he thinks influencers have longevity in a world ruled by ‘likes’.

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Wondermins designer vitamins launch in New Zealand

  • News
  • April 19, 2018
  • Sarah Dunn
Wondermins designer vitamins launch in New Zealand

In the US, branded vitamins taking their visual language from the beauty world are a trendy new product category that retailers are racing to invest in. A New Zealand company has launched its own AI-enabled answer to the trend: Wondermins.

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The April/May issue of NZ Retail magazine is headed to subscribers

  • News
  • April 19, 2018
  • The Register team
The April/May issue of NZ Retail magazine is headed to subscribers

Our newest edition of The Register’s print magazine, NZ Retail, is on its way to a letterbox near you. In it, we explore the highly specialised world of airport retail; explain how retailers can roll with upcoming changes to employment law; take you to not one but two US trade fairs with the International Home + Housewares Show and Shoptalk; trace the ecosystem behind stock units; and take a totally mature and non-salacious look at the hard growth behind adult toy retail.

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