Canada Goose’s First China Store Draws Eager Crowds Despite Diplomatic Troubles

January 10, 2019 Updated: January 10, 2019

BEIJING—Large crowds have been drawn to Canada Goose’s new outdoor wear store in downtown Beijing, its first in mainland China, since its opening on Dec. 28, 2018, despite sub-zero temperatures and a chill in China’s relations with Canada.

Even though Beijing’s temperatures reached as low as -12.9°C (9°F), there was still a long line of people, stretching over 100 meters (330 feet). Some were already waiting in line two hours before the doors opened. On opening day, the store sold out of some of their more popular items.

Three days later, the queue was still long. On the afternoon of Dec. 31, waiting times were an hour or more.

Canada Goose’s parkas go for about 9,000 yuan ($1,300).

Canada Goose staff were seen walking up and down the line asking shoppers which product they were looking for and then telling them whether or not they had it in stock.

“It’s been popular for ages but Beijing didn’t have one, only Hong Kong. So everyone’s come to see it,” said Long Hua, 32, lining up outside the store with a friend.

Ties between China and Canada have turned frosty since the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, by Vancouver authorities at the request of the United States in December. Subsequently, China retaliated by detaining two Canadians working in China, claiming that they endangered state security.

Canada Goose opened its Beijing store about two weeks later than initially planned. It has made no connection between the delay and the heightened tensions between the two countries, saying earlier in December that the postponement was due to construction work.

The Toronto-based parka maker has made no mention of the Beijing store opening on its Chinese social media platforms, although the store in Beijing’s swanky Sanlitun district is now listed on the company’s global website.

“We are proud of our newest store in China and look forward to welcoming our fans,” Canada Goose said in an email to Reuters on Dec. 31.

A buoyant sales outlook for mainland China has been shaken in recent weeks by some Chinese social media posts calling for the boycott of Canada Goose products following Canada’s arrest of Meng.

Shares of Canada Goose have fallen about 37 percent in Toronto trading since Meng’s detention and the ensuing strains between the two countries.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, faces allegations from the United States that she misled multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating U.S. sanctions.

The stakes are high for the maker of high-end goose-down coats, which enjoy significant brand recognition in China’s big cities.

Chinese customers account for more than a third of spending on luxury products worldwide, and are increasingly shopping in their home market rather than overseas.

Earlier this year, Canada Goose opened its first store in Hong Kong.

Martin Pollard and Ryan Woo. Epoch Times staff member Sunny Chao contributed to this report.