Aritzia Digital Transformation Strategy
- Iritzia is a formally PE-backed women’s fashion boutique. It received its first round of funding of an undisclosed amount in 2005 from Berkshire Partners. It went public in October 2016, raising approximately C$400,000,000.
- The company recorded a net annual revenue of C$1.5 billion during the 2022 fiscal year, representing a 74.3 growth in revenue.
- Iritzia has outlined a digital growth strategy that aims to improve its e-commerce and omni innovation, Improve digital marketing through search engine optimization, optimize digital experience and adopt business intelligence technology to better understand its customers.
The research below has been divided into two parts. Part one provides company analysis for Aritzia including company overview (funding history, annual revenue, and products and services), corporate values and missions, CEO and senior-level commentary on digital strategy and Aritzia's marketing tech stack. Part two highlights the corporate challenges faced by Aritzia.
Part 1: Aritzia Analysis
- Founded in 1984 by Brian Hill, Aritzia is an "innovative women’s fashion boutique and a vertically integrated design house with an innovative global platform. They are creators and purveyors of Everyday Luxury, home to an extensive portfolio of exclusive brands for every function and individual aesthetic."
- Aritzia received an undisclosed amount of private equity (PE) fund from Berkshire Partners in 2005. According to Berkshire, this was a Family Business International Management Recapitalization investment that was realized in 2019 through an open market sale of the 6,333,653 shares held at the retailer, with proceeds amounting to $107,038,736.
- In 2016, the company raised C$400,000,000 through its initial public offering, making it the largest IPO of the year in Canada. The amount was raised through the sale of 25 million shares priced at $16.
- In 2021, Aritzia had a secondary offering of subordinate voting shares, raising a total of $91,221,000 from the sale of 3,040,700 shares at an offering price of $30.00 per share. However, for the 2016 IPO and the 2021 offering, the company did not receive the funds as the money was paid to the shareholders.
- For the fiscal 2022, Aritzia recorded a 74.3% growth in net revenue, from C$857.3 million in 2021 to C$1.5 billion in 2022. The company attributes this growth to the acceleration in sales in the United States, where there was a 131.8% increase in sales, with revenue growing from C$291.7 in fiscal 2021 to C$676.1 million in fiscal 2022.
- The company realized a significant growth in gross profits, with their earnings increasing from C$312.5 million in fiscal 2021 to $655.0 million in fiscal 2022, representing a 109.6% growth. Increased gross profit also led to the growth in gross profit margin to 43.8%, more than the previous year's 36.5%. Lower markdowns, lower operational costs, leverage on occupancy costs and the improved performance of the Canadian dollar are some factors that contributed to the growth in gross profits.
- The company's selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) increased by 56.7%. Variability in selling costs and the company's continued investment in technology, talent and marketing initiatives were cited as the main causes of the increased SG&A expenses.
- Based on forecast figures, the company expects to increase its revenue for the fiscal 2023 to approximately $1.8 billion due to the continued growth in the United States, more recovery by its boutiques and improved performance on its e-commerce business. It also expects the gross profit margin to decrease while the SG&A expenses to increase. However, from the released performance in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, there is a 65.2% increase in net revenue, 65.8% increase in gross revenue and 70.9% increase in SG&A expenses compared to first quarter of fiscal 2022.
Products and Services
- Aritzia innovatively "conceives, creates, develops and retails" multiple fashion brands that depict a high sense of design and quality and that offers customers a compelling value. Through the multi-brand strategy, Aritzia provides its customers a wide range of fashion apparel through different life stages, and in the process builds a lasting client loyalty.
- Under its brands, Aritzia has different product offerings including: blazers, shirt jackets, bodysuits, t-shirts and tops, shirts and blouses, sweaters, knightwear, sweatsuits, pants, denim, activewear, leggings, bikeshorts, shorts, dresses, jumpsuits and rompers, skirts, jackets and coats, swim, accessories and shoes.
- The company boasts twelve signature brands, with each having a unique demographic and price point. These brands include Wilfred, Wilfred free, Babaton, Tna, Ten by Babaton, The Group, TnAction, Super World, Sunday Best, Denim Forum, Auxiliary, and Talula. Some of these brands have enjoyed celebrity hype with celebrities like Ariana Grande, Kendall Jenner, Hailey Bieber, and Margot Robbie being spotted wearing Aritzia's puffer jacket dubbed the "Super Puff." Babaton and Wilfred brands have also enjoyed the hype as they are favorites of Meghan Markle.
Corporate Values, Mission and
- The company highlights creativity, loyalty, excellence, good judgment, integrity and teamwork as its core values that guide their actions, helps unite their people and uphold their tenets.
- The company's philosophy is to support everyone touched by the company and while maintaining and safe and clean environment that supports communities through strengthening of its social and environmental impact across its operations and value chain.
- One of the strategies adopted by the retailer to enhance its future growth is increased investment in e-commerce and omni innovation. E-commerce and omni innovation have contributed to a 36% increase in the company's annual revenues on a compounded basis since 2016. The company plans to invest even more to improve its earnings. By investing in omni-channel growth, the company hopes to further increase retail sales while reducing the volume of calls to the concierge team.
- Improving its digital marketing strategy to attract more customers and also increase their retention is another digital strategy designed by the retailer. The 2022 annual report highlights the benefits of investing in digital marketing and suggests that going forward, the company plans to invest more in programs such as search engine optimization, email marketing and social media marketing and community development.
- The company is in its early stages of adopting business intelligence technology to help in understanding consumer behavior and to deliver personalized experience. The retailer is also planning to optimize its online operations through customized merchandising and content classification to improve customer experience.
- In its bid to improve shopping experience, the retailer has outlined a plan to improve its digital experience by implementing user review and fit guides, "enhancing site search functionality, landing page templates, and numerous checkout improvements to reduce client friction.
- Supply chain challenge occurs between the company and its suppliers in manufacturing and delivering products to the final consumers which might include resources, which makes it hard to deliver raw materials to Aritzia's warehouses.
- This is a challenge because the Company obtains eight percent of its raw materials from virus-striken countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, and Italy, which can affect the distribution.
- Continued supply chain disruptions negatively impacts the company's financial growth due to increased prices of essential commodities.
Labor Shortage Due to the Company's Expansion
- Labor shortage occurs when the company is finding it difficult to recruit effective employees for the available job positions, as the company intends to establish new stores in Nashville, Las Vegas, and Miami.
- This is a challenge because the company is looking forward to recruite employees for the available 2000 jobs across its concierge, distribution center, and retail team, which can be difficult to attain.
- Labor shortage leads to slow expansion of the company's stores, however, the company expects to strive to maintain the expansion pace.
For this research project on Aritzia Digital Transformation Strategy, we leveraged some of the most reputable sources available in the public domain. Majority of the required information were available through the company's website and annual reports. We also leveraged other reputable third party sources like Forbes, YahooFinance, GlobalNewsWire, and Bloomberg to find more insights into the required information.