Vancouver chain closing, blames foreign competition
A Vancouver women's clothing chain is closing up shop, blaming cross-border shopping and an invasion of American chains for its bankruptcy.
Current Fashion has flourished in Vancouver for 24 years, but owner Sandy Hayden says the company can no longer compete. The company's 10 stores and local factory will be shutting down at the end of June.
"The last few years have been incredibly challenging for us," Hayden told CTV News.
Current has struggled against an influx of American stores that produce clothing in Asia.
"Our labour costs are higher, our benefits are higher; we have all sorts of privileges as Canadians living in Canada, like medical care, employment insurance, that we pay for that have to be obviously added on to the costs of our goods," Hayden said.
She also blames an increase in cross-border shopping as the Loonie has flirted with parity with the U.S. dollar for the past three years. Some retailers in Bellingham, WA report that Canadians make up 80 per cent of their business.
But financial experts say promoting a made-in Canada label isn't always enough to keep customers coming.
"It's what niche you bring to the marketplace that draws the consumer to you, but you can't use as an excuse foreign competition. What you've got to do is just build that better mousetrap," analyst Michael Levy said.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Julia Foy