UK's Bench to shutter all stores in Canada
Bench is the latest retailer to announce its exit from the Canadian retail market. The athleticwear brand is closing its 24 Canadian brick-and-mortar stores, according to several reports.
Bench, born in Manchester, England, has been present in the country via a strategic partnership with Montreal-based company Freemark Apparel Brands Group.
Most recently, the brand was acquired by Gordon Brothers in 2018 who at the time said it would “continue the brand's long-standing partnership with Freemark Apparel Brands Group, who have successfully built Bench into a multi-channel business, through distribution in Bench retail stores, wholesale and e-commerce.”
Freemark co-owner Lawrence Routtenberg told Bloomberg-BNN that the company was shuttering the stores to focus on its wholesale accounts and e-commerce business.
Bench is just one of many retailers who are feeling the effect of changing consumer behaviour as more people are shopping online. Forever 21 closed 44 stores in Canada last year, joining retailers such as Payless and Topshop who equally ended their retail operations in the country.
Launched in 1989, Bench is one of the first streetwear fashion retailers. It launched with a focus on lifestyle products associated with the skate and BMX culture of the late 1980's/early 1990's, before expanding into streetwear.
When the brand was at its prime, it was once operated in over 20 countries in Europe and North America. As recently as 2017, the brand had over 80 Bench branded stores in Europe and North America and an additional 2,000+ wholesale points of sale.
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