Joe Fresh, which is owned by Canadian grocer Loblaw, has entered into three new partnerships to expand into 23 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, South Korea and Europe. The rollout includes the addition of up to 141 Joe Fresh stores.
As part of the new deal, Retail Arabia International will open 15 Joe Fresh stores in five countries by 2018, and Origin & Co. will open as many as 30 stores in South Korea over the next five years. The third partner, Fawaz Abdulaziz Alhokair & Co., will open at least 96 stores in countries ranging from Saudi Arabia to Kazakhstan.
Currently, Loblaw sells Joe Fresh at more than 300 locations inside its Canadian supermarkets, and in 12 stand-alone and studio stores. It also has six locations in New York and New Jersey. The clothing line is available in J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) stores in the U.S., although the troubled American chain recently scaled back on those offerings due to lower-than-expected performance and the change of leadership and strategy at J.C. Penney.
In addition to the expansion Loblaw will start to test "click and collect" e-commerce in the Toronto area for its food and consumers products. This online strategy, which has been gaining popularity, will allow shoppers to purchase food online and pick up their order at the store. Loblaw will test the program in three of its Toronto area outlets in 2014.
The expansion deal is a bright spot for a company that came under fire last year after a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh that produced Joe Fresh clothing collapsed, killing 1,100 people. Loblaw responded to the accident by providing financial compensation for workers and dependents of the company who made the clothing.
-See this Joe Fresh press release
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