People from Winnipeg of a certain age remember fur stores all over the city. A lady at the symphony would have the latest fur and at the end of the season, it would be stored often at the same story it was bought from. By the late 1970s though the innovations in type of material used in winter coats and attitudes towards furs erased a part of that Winnipeg history.
And so it seems with leather in terms of outer wear. Puffy coats like Canada Goose or of the snowmobile variety or team sport variety have crushed leather sales. Weather played a factor too. Colder winters meant the company a few years ago did not have warm enough clothing. Appeals to younger shoppers failed and alienated older shoppers. What could go wrong did go wrong.
Danier Leather went insolvent and with it go over 1000 retail jobs in Canada and 84 stores. For Winnipeg it means the loss of four stores in high traffic areas such as Polo Park and St. Vital. Deep discounts to clear the stock have already begun and will continue until they are selling shelving and fixtures.
The retail landscape is littered with companies that have faltered and not kept up with consumer demand. In this case, leather itself appears to be the problem.
The choice locations of Danier in Winnipeg will likely be picked up in short order but there are still spaces even now that landlords have not filled.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations