Strategy

Joe Fresh's fresh step

Canadian grocery–store clothier might be off to high–rent Manhattan.

Joe Fresh may be ditching its usual neighbours—real apples—for a spot on Fifth Avenue in the Big Apple. Joseph Mimran, the co-founder of Club Monaco who developed the clothing line that sells almost exclusively in or beside grocery stores owned by Loblaw Cos. Ltd., has told the editor-in-chief of Fashion magazine the deal for New York digs is not yet done. But if all goes well, it would mark the company’s first venture outside Canada and become the second stand-alone store.

“It’s a huge brand builder to have your face on Fifth Avenue,” says Wendy Evans, CEO of retail consulting company Evans and Co. Consultants Inc. “The question is, can Joe do the productivity required to give the store a reasonable bottom line?”

Mimran launched Joe Fresh four years ago in 40 Loblaw locations in hopes of enticing busy moms to shop for clothes while grabbing dinner. Since then, it has been praised by designers for its cheap-but-chicness, worn by the likes of supermodel Irina Lazareanu and spread to over 340 locations. The 15,000-square-foot retail space at 510 Fifth Ave. was bought by New York-based Vornado Realty Trust for US$58 million back in October and would land Joe some big-box company, among stores such as H&M and Barnes & Noble.