Business students descend upon iconic Canadian luxury retailer

Jul 21, 2011

Undergraduate students from SFU’s Beedie School of Business and Italy’s Università Bocconi from the fashion capital of Milan joined forces to engage with iconic Canadian retailer Holt Renfrew on July 20. Holt’s, as it is often referred to as, is a chain of high-end department stores located across Canada. The chain was founded in 1837 in Quebec City.

The morning-long visit to the company’s Vancouver store and offices, a state-of-the-art facility completed in 2007, included presentations from Carla Stef, Director, National Events and Regional PR, and Pam Sirney, Manager of Human Resources.

The tour, boardroom presentation and Q&A touched upon a range of business issues connected to the world of fashion retailing, including market positioning and segmentation, key strategies around branding and customers, and employee retention and recruitment.

The site visit was part of the class “Business 492: Management of Fashion Companies,” which has paired up undergraduate students from SFU’s Beedie School of Business with a cohort of visiting students from Bocconi, regarded as Italy’s top business and economics school, who are visiting Canada this summer.

Students are gaining an overview of the global fashion industry and an in-depth understanding of the strategic, organizational and managerial features of fashion companies, both in the luxury space and in the mass market. Students are tasked to implement tools such as industry analysis, business models, and positioning strategies to the fashion industry and companies within.

Students examine case histories, hear from guest speakers and visit leading fashion design companies – including Vancouver’s Lululemon Athletica and No Limits Sportswear. A recent field trip to Vancouver’s vibrant Main Street neighbourhood exposed the SFU and Bocconi students to some of Canada’s most ambitious and eclectic fashion designers and entrepreneurs.

Curriculum also includes an investigation of the so-called fashion pipeline, the timing and management of fashion trends, and consumer segmentation. Students will explore the competitiveness of national fashion industry models, from Italy and France to the United States.

“These are business students who are very passionate about the fashion design industry in Vancouver and around the world,” said Rebecca Rytir (nee Cowan), International Coordinator, Beedie School of Business.

Extra: See photos from the July 21 Holt’s visit and other images from Business 492: Management of Fashion Companies

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