In spite of increasing competition from Canadian upstarts like HR2 and threats from U.S. cousin Marshall’s, no one does discount designer retail better than Winners. Through all of its growth and expansion, Winners has never wavered from its promise to provide customers with the thrill of the find. But the discount retail landscape is evolving, and Winners needs to take stock of the changes.
Online, standalone flashsalers like Beyond the Rack, Gilt Group and RueLaLa are gaining traction, as are American Express (Vente Prive) and Nordstrom (HauteLook). The internet has become the great equalizer. Now it’s easy for the fashion-forward to also be cost-conscious. Chasing a great bargain is no longer about being in the right store at the right time. It is simply about shopping at the right time.
Winners’ customers share their finds through the multitude of social channels – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others – but can only do so when they are in a store, during store hours. These deficiencies may be signaling a larger problem.
TJX Companies (TJX) saw a true diamond in the rough when it acquired Winners in 1990. They have grown Winners from five stores to 227. But this chain remains a Canada-only operation. As a result, Winners’ potential is limited to the Canadian marketplace. Has Winners reached a saturation point?
As more Canadians take their shopping habits online, unhampered by geographic borders, can Winners remain the leader in discount designer retail? Or will competitors – and even other TJX brands – take the mantle?