West Marine CanadaDuring their recent message to West Marine shareholders in the West Marine 3rd quarter conference call, Matt Hyde, CEO announced that West Marine will close all of their Canadian stores in 2015.

Boating Industry Canada has learned that in the next year, leases on 7 of their 10 stores in Canada expire. We were told that when a lease expires on any of their West Marine stores, the company evaluates it against minimum financial delivery to decide whether to renew the lease. In the case of these 7 Canadian locations, none of the stores meet West Marine minimums. Because of this, the company announced the the difficult decision to phase out of the Canadian stores over the next few years, as their leases expire.   It was also stated that through this process, West marine will continue to support their Canadian stores for the next few years.

We contacted a West Marine company spokesperson for further comment and we were told, “For a long time, we have grappled with providing for the needs of our Canadian stores, customers and associates. A few months ago we were advised by our landlord that the lease for our Toronto, Canada store would not be renewed.  Since then, we have been evaluating our options in Toronto and the implications for our Canadian operations.”

This person continued, “...We have made the difficult decision to phase out of the Canadian stores over the next few years, as our leases expire. Making a decision like this is never easy.  We’ve learned a lot in the past 10 years about the Canadian market. It is very different than the US market and requires time, attention and focus that we’ve been unable to fully deploy as we work on our business here
in the U.S.

Phasing out of our Canadian stores will take a few years.  We will continue to support our stores, associates and customers as we go through this process.”

Boating Industry Canada was at the grand opening of the first West Marine Superstore in Fort Lauderdale in 2012 and since then, the company has opened several more much larger stores that include substantial floor space for summer and boating fashion, footwear and other items that apply to a more broad consumer target.

The Canadian stores are small size retail locations that will not suit the marketing direction pioneered by the Fort Lauderdale store. It remains to be seen if West Marine will take this super store direction in select Canadian markets, or if the company will focus more on their web-based retail operations but at present, the company seems to be doing much better in their home market.

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