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Industry leader: Canada emerging from sales doldrums

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President of Normark Canade, Dave Neill: seeing rejuvenated strength in the Canadian market.
↑ Italo Labignan: "New product development is also being targeted towards regional markets."

One of Canada’s top fishing tackle manufacturers has said that the country’s ailing industry – in decline since 2015 – may be beginning to stabilise.

A turbulent economic environment across North America, fuelled by fierce market competition and changing consumer buying habits, has resulted in retail outlets in Canada closing, including LeBaron’s four stores in Quebec and Ontario along with 12 Wholesale Sports outlets in the west of the country.

The malaise even affected the distribution side of the business following the bankruptcy and subsequent takeover of Maurice Sport Goods, a situation that left some large retailers scrambling to reorganise their supply systems, including the country’s largest fishing tackle suppler, Canadian Tire, operator of 1,700 retail outlets across the country.

However, the prospects for 2018 are looking positive, according to Normark Canada President Dave Neill. He said: “Retail expansion has been in decline in Canada since 2015, but this trend is beginning to stabilise and will translate into a new, more solid platform for growth.

“We are seeing rejuvenated strength in the Canadian fishing tackle market through the first quarter of this year. After coming off an exceptionally strong ice fishing season, many retailers have excess ‘open to buy’ which is translating into improved early spring sales for our products.”

Italo Labignan, Canadian industry stalwart and expert, added that some of the biggest players in the Canadian tackle industry are tightening their belts and increasing the efficiency of their vendor servicing programme. Some are also slimming down their product offer and concentrating more effort on selling gear that has traditionally done well in specific markets across the country.

“New product development is also being targeted towards regional markets where anglers are ready to purchase products for their specific fishery,” he said. “One good example of this is the ice fishing market that requires very specialised gear. This organic retail strategy is showing good signs of regional growth across the country.”

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