Luxury parka maker Canada Goose said on Thursday it would stop making its products with fur by the end of 2022. The move comes after years of backlash over its use of coyote fur and amid a wider sustainability trend in the industry.
Department store Holt Renfrew, a retailer that sells the parkas, has also announced it will no longer sell products containing fur by the end of this year.
The entire industry is moving toward greener and recycled materials and away from animal products, according to retail analyst Farla Efros, the president of HRC Retail Advisory.
“It’s the consumer that’s the driving force,” she said. “The more educated they are, the more knowledge they have, the more demands they’re going to place and they’re going to put a lot of stress on these manufacturers to … become fur free.”
Several Canada Goose peers, including Versace, Michael Kors and Gucci, have recently decided to stop using fur, while apparel makers Nike Inc. and Gap are looking to make their products more sustainable to cater to eco-conscious shoppers.
Good for the bottom line?
Last year, Canada Goose, known for its $1,000 parkas, made a move in this direction, saying it would introduce reclaimed fur into its supply chain, but the manufacturer’s move today was more definite.
And the transformation still may not be complete. Canada Goose’s website says it still uses natural down in jackets, even as some animal-rights groups allege the down industry uses painful methods to kill geese for making jackets.
Efros sees at least a five to 10 per cent bump in sales from Canada Goose’s decision to stop using fur.
She says that for younger consumers in Generation Z, the use of fur is just not acceptable.
“Now this brand, which might have been on the peripheral for them will come back into their decision making process.”
Overall, Efros thinks it’s a good business move.
“I think it’s going to garner unbelievable positive consumer response for them, and it’s going to continue to grow the brand in a phenomenal way.”
Move could gain more customers
CIBC analyst Mark Petrie agrees that the move to go fur-free is a savvy one.
“The fur-lined hood was once one of the defining elements of the Canada Goose parka, and driven by the brand’s foundation in function,” he said in a note to clients.
“However, a step to go completely fur-free is consistent with societal and consumer trends, and we expect this move will win Canada Goose more customers than it will lose.”
Canada Goose shares were trading at just over $42 a share on Thursday, up about three per cent on the day. Thanks in part to the move toward sustainability, Petrie thinks the shares could be worth almost $60 apiece by the end of next year.
While sales did take a hit during the pandemic, the manufacturer’s overall business has continued to grow.
Founded in Toronto, the winter apparel company sold a majority stake to a U.S. private equity firm in 2013 to help expand its international market.