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Lego in Canada

A Member of LEGO Company's staff drops in here from time to time to answer questions from LEGO fans like you.

Lego in Canada

Postby RogueJedi007 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:30 am

I posted this back in December in the old forum and I did not get any kind of answer from Lego, so I want to bring it back here.

What I did not mention in my last message was Lego stores in Canada, and why there is none? It makes no business sense at all to have any Lego brand stores in Canada, it is another avenue where Lego is losing potential business.

I am really hoping, although I know this has been asked many times before, that we can see some changes how Lego is sold at retail in Canada.

Just yesterday I was in my local TRU, where I used to be employed as an Assistant Manager, and was browsing the Lego aisle. The store manager, who I still get along with, was helping customers who were looking for buckets of just basic Lego pieces. They found set # 6166 Large Brick Bucket, but they only had one in stock. The store manager turned and asked me, since he knew that I was fairly knowledgable Lego products, if they sold any sets that were just basic bricks without windows, wheels etc. I told them that Lego sells some basic Lego bricks, sets 6177, 5574 and 5578 but they are only available online at the Lego Shop at Home website as I have never seen them at any retail store.

At that time, there was another customer who came up to us and mentioned that there are stores where "they have Lego pieces in buckets on the wall where you can just take hand fulls of whatever you want" which made the first customers excited, which the store manager he has also seen those in California. I explained that those are Lego brand stores and are the only places that carry the Pick-a-Brick shopping and there were no Lego stores or Pick-a-brick in Canada. The customers where clearly disappointed. I explained that the only reason that the Lego company claims they do not have any stores in Canada is due the fact that there is not a big enough market. All of the customers agreed that that is not the case and shook their heads and walked away.

So my question for Lego? Why do you not realize that you are losing out on the Canadian market to have Lego branded stores in this country? I am always losing my confidence in the decisions made by the Lego company since the decisions made in the last several years had not been popular with fans. Examples like 9v trains discontinuation, changing Lego colours, to name a few have turned off many people from the AFOL group. The lack proper set selection at retail, lack of fast and accurate replenishment at store level stock and the lack of tapping into the Canadian market with Lego stores turns off parents and casual fans of Lego and causes a loss in sales which cannot be measured. I have been an AFOL for 12 years now, I have worked in retail for several years, including TRU at the management level and active in my local LUG where we put on Lego displays and see excited Lego fans who cannot find the products they want. I am familiar with Lego on several levels and every level I see many problems.

Any chance there are changes on the way? Any hope at all?
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby Super33 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:03 pm

It is strange to hear that Lego has NO stores in Canada. I'm from Chicago and there are 4! Lego stores within an hour of where I live. 3 Lego stores and one Legoland Discovery Center which has a Lego store in it. All of these stores have the pick a brick wall. Why they would put 4 different Lego stores within a 1 hour radius of eachother is beyond me. But I have to admit, I'm not complaining! ;) I'm sure Canadians are just as into Legos as the rest of the world so there must be some reasonable explanation.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby bluemoose » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:16 pm

I was told it was LEGO's way of punishing Canada for being the home country of MegaBloks.

Specifically, MegaBloks' HQ is in Montreal.

Ian

;)
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby Super33 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 12:31 pm

That'll do it! I hope you Canadians learned your lesson!!
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby Teekay » Tue Feb 17, 2009 4:14 pm

Now, now. I'm sure it's not the fault of the Canadians that Megacrap is headquartered there.

But now we know where the Megacrap factory is! Get your pitchforks and torches! ;)

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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby Gumby » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:46 pm

RogueJedi007 wrote:What I did not mention in my last message was Lego stores in Canada, and why there is none? It makes no business sense at all to have any Lego brand stores in Canada, it is another avenue where Lego is losing potential business.

I think you're missing "not" in your last sentence above. :)

I would like to see a LEGO store in Canada too!
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby buhs » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:18 pm

Although you are correct that there are no corporately owned LEGO stores in Canada, there are atlease 3 LEGO exclusive stores that I frequent in Canada (more often than my wife would like :p ) There is the "The Toy Blox" (www.thetoyblox.com) in Whitby Ontario, and two stores at the Cookstown outlet and at St. Jacob's Marcket (Bricks & Blocks - www.bricksandblocksoutlet.com). I find bricks and blocks to be the better of the two, as they often have super good sell off deals (I got the UCS Blockade runner for $150 and UCS Tie Interceptor for $90!!!!!!) It's true there are no true LEGO corp stores, but there are LEGO exclusive stores.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby hatcher » Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:31 pm

There used to be a store that sold only Lego in Barrie, but it went out of business in about a year. The reason? They were selling the same stuff that Toys R Us, Walmart, Zellers, were selling (all of those stores were within one mile of this one) and they were selling it for higher prices. They only had a few sets unavailable in stores, and they were overpriced too.
I've been to the store mentioned in Cookstown, and in the last year, they have reduced their inventory by at least 50 percent. The entire back half of the store is empty, and what stock they have is not much cheaper (if cheaper at all) than the big chain stores. And with the price of Lego going through the roof in Canada, I don't know how much longer they'll be in business either.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby RogueJedi007 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:39 pm

buhs wrote:Although you are correct that there are no corporately owned LEGO stores in Canada, there are atlease 3 LEGO exclusive stores that I frequent in Canada (more often than my wife would like :p ) There is the "The Toy Blox" (http://www.thetoyblox.com) in Whitby Ontario, and two stores at the Cookstown outlet and at St. Jacob's Marcket (Bricks & Blocks - http://www.bricksandblocksoutlet.com). I find bricks and blocks to be the better of the two, as they often have super good sell off deals (I got the UCS Blockade runner for $150 and UCS Tie Interceptor for $90!!!!!!) It's true there are no true LEGO corp stores, but there are LEGO exclusive stores.


That is great, but that is just Ontario and Ontario does not equal Canada. I am talking from Vancouver to Halifax and everywhere else.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby RogueJedi007 » Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:43 pm

hatcher wrote:There used to be a store that sold only Lego in Barrie, but it went out of business in about a year. The reason? They were selling the same stuff that Toys R Us, Walmart, Zellers, were selling (all of those stores were within one mile of this one) and they were selling it for higher prices. They only had a few sets unavailable in stores, and they were overpriced too.
I've been to the store mentioned in Cookstown, and in the last year, they have reduced their inventory by at least 50 percent. The entire back half of the store is empty, and what stock they have is not much cheaper (if cheaper at all) than the big chain stores. And with the price of Lego going through the roof in Canada, I don't know how much longer they'll be in business either.


Again that is Ontario, there is a lot of Canada outside of Ontario. And there are places in Canada where the economy is not in the tank where people have money to spend.

Not being too overpriced is a key to staying in business and if a company cannot do that, they cannot stay open that is a basic business skill. If you want to be a Lego exclusive store you need to just do more than sell sets, PaB and other ideas like that are key to that kind of business, you need to find a hole in the market and fill it, not just copy everyone else.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby speaknspell » Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:16 pm

I can't answer your question as to the specifics of what future locations are and aren't being looked at, but I can say that the people who run LEGO Brand Retail, are constantly traveling to potential locations for new stores and there are lots more factors than just 'the area buys LEGO'. There's getting into the right malls, negotiating the right kinds of import deals, tax stuff, etc.

I will say that we actually have been looking in Canada for the last few years as a growth area, but we just haven't found the right situation for us to open a store there yet. So we have not forgotten about you Canadians, we're just not there yet :)

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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby RogueJedi007 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 4:57 pm

speaknspell wrote:I can't answer your question as to the specifics of what future locations are and aren't being looked at, but I can say that the people who run LEGO Brand Retail, are constantly traveling to potential locations for new stores and there are lots more factors than just 'the area buys LEGO'. There's getting into the right malls, negotiating the right kinds of import deals, tax stuff, etc.

I will say that we actually have been looking in Canada for the last few years as a growth area, but we just haven't found the right situation for us to open a store there yet. So we have not forgotten about you Canadians, we're just not there yet :)

Steve


A few years? The right situation? I am not sure what Lego is exactly looking for and how it could take that long, but that seems like a lot of wasted time and lost profit.

I understand that there is a lot more to opening a store than just 'the area that buys Lego' as I have said before I have been around retail for some years now and understand there is a lot in opening a store. But at the same time it should not take more than a few years to open a store if you (Lego) are serious. I read all the time that there are new Lego stores opening all of the USA.

It would be nice to have an actual chance to work with Lego with something like this, or even if there was any kind of job opening. But in the last many years I have not seen any jobs open at all for Lego in Canada which seems that there is no actual Lego division dedicated to Canada.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby MrCRskater » Sat Feb 21, 2009 9:52 pm

RogueJedi007 wrote:A few years? The right situation? I am not sure what Lego is exactly looking for and how it could take that long. . . it should not take more than a few years to open a store if you (Lego) are serious.


It's not worth berating Steve over this (nor is that what this forum is about). I think Steve's response to your original question was relatively thoughtful and forthright, without going into a huge long spiel about every minute detail of the process. . . thank you, Steve :)

LEGO is not Wal-mart, and cannot just open up a store wherever and whenever they please. And as Steve pointed out, with the consideration of tax laws and shipping procedures in and out of a foreign country, it probably takes more "shopping around" to create a profitable arrangement.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby RogueJedi007 » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:14 pm

MrCRskater wrote:
RogueJedi007 wrote:A few years? The right situation? I am not sure what Lego is exactly looking for and how it could take that long. . . it should not take more than a few years to open a store if you (Lego) are serious.


It's not worth berating Steve over this (nor is that what this forum is about). I think Steve's response to your original question was relatively thoughtful and forthright, without going into a huge long spiel about every minute detail of the process. . . thank you, Steve :)

LEGO is not Wal-mart, and cannot just open up a store wherever and whenever they please. And as Steve pointed out, with the consideration of tax laws and shipping procedures in and out of a foreign country, it probably takes more "shopping around" to create a profitable arrangement.


I really don't think that I was berating Steve, nor do I think I need you tell what this forum is about. Nor do I think I need you to tell me that Lego is not Walmart.

My point is that they do not appear to be seriously pursuing to capture the Lego market in Canada. There are 25 Lego brand stores in the USA, 3 in the UK, 4 in Germany and one in China, that I am aware of. Not to mention the Legoland theme parks, which there is one in the US, one in Germany, one in the UK and one in Denmark. They just opened two more Lego stores in the USA last year: http://news.lugnet.com/announce/?n=3793

In my original question I also talked about poor product quantity and product replenishment in Canada which includes fewer stores that carry Lego than in the USA. We do not have Target stores either. This has been another problem for several years in retail for Lego in Canada.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby MrCRskater » Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:54 pm

RogueJedi007 wrote:In my original question I also talked about poor product quantity and product replenishment in Canada which includes fewer stores that carry Lego than in the USA.
RogueJedi007 wrote:The lack proper set selection at retail, lack of fast and accurate replenishment at store level stock and the lack of tapping into the Canadian market with Lego stores turns off parents and casual fans of Lego and causes a loss in sales which cannot be measured.
We do not have Target stores either. This has been another problem for several years in retail for Lego in Canada.


Again, as Steve pointed out and I hypothesized, it probably has something to do with the taxation and transfer of goods in and out of a foreign country. As Canada's laws are different than Germany's or the UK's, it must be more difficult to open up a LEGO store there for one of these reasons.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby RogueJedi007 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:42 pm

MrCRskater wrote:
RogueJedi007 wrote:In my original question I also talked about poor product quantity and product replenishment in Canada which includes fewer stores that carry Lego than in the USA.
RogueJedi007 wrote:The lack proper set selection at retail, lack of fast and accurate replenishment at store level stock and the lack of tapping into the Canadian market with Lego stores turns off parents and casual fans of Lego and causes a loss in sales which cannot be measured.
We do not have Target stores either. This has been another problem for several years in retail for Lego in Canada.


Again, as Steve pointed out and I hypothesized, it probably has something to do with the taxation and transfer of goods in and out of a foreign country. As Canada's laws are different than Germany's or the UK's, it must be more difficult to open up a LEGO store there for one of these reasons.


I was asking Steve from Lego for his profession opinion as an employee of Lego to provide an honest and official reason, or as official as possible, which he has. I was not looking for "maybe's" and "there are lots more factors than just 'the area buys LEGO'" or "it's complicated" because I know it is complicated but would like to see Lego expand into Canada to capture on profit they are missing out on. So with all due respect, I do not need any input or insight from you further on this matter. This forum is called Ask Lego, not Ask MrCRskater to hypothesize. Thanks.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby Kyle » Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:14 pm

I don't really have much to offer that's on topic, not being Canadian and all, but I do feel compelled to say: RJ, your arrogance in this thread is positively adorable.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby dWhisper » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:58 pm

Steve didn't have to answer your post in the first place, since it's dealing with the business workings, and not what he's here for. He was polite enough to do so, and you're being an sarlacc in response. So stop.

Beyond that, we're not talking about someone opening up some cell phone kiosk in a mall here, but establishing a retail chain store, dealing with import/export law (which is different for retail location than it is mail order or online stuff). When you add on the whole logistics of initial planning, it's not unusual for the planning to take several years. That's before so much as a lease has been signed or an employee hired.

Now if you don't have anything to add, you just want to whine and moan, stop it. Or I'll take away your Ask LEGO privilege.
If the above post didn't offend you, you're probably reading it wrong.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby theJudeAbides » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:58 pm

I think another thing to consider is the economy we're facing right. Tough time in the US means tough times all over (we're living in a global economy, for better or for worse). Many businesses today, including reputable ones with good credit, are facing difficulties getting loans. In fact, most businesses are holding steady or even scaling back in hopes of riding out the storm. This is not the kind of economy that's conducive to expansion or risk-taking. LEGO is no different from any other company out there. Why would you expect otherwise?

LEGO is a luxury item, plain and simple. All joking aside, you don't need it to live. When times get tough, the first things to go are luxury items (just ask Polaris, who laid off an entire line). There are families out there who can't even make their house payments right now. Some families don't even know where their next meal is coming from. But really, that's nothing compared with having to wait an extra week or two to pick up a new toy set. :roll: God forbid your family should ever face financial difficulties. It's time to crawl out from under your sheltered little suburban life and open your eyes to the world around you.
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Re: Lego in Canada

Postby onions » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:17 am

this question's been asked and answered and before it escalates, i'm going to lock it down.
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