‘Every waking moment I’m thinking about how can we improve,’ Philippe Arrata says
Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada’s largest outdoor gear retailer, is losing money, says its new CEO Philippe Arrata — a lot of it.
The outdoor recreation gear and clothing retailer lost $11.487 million last year on sales of $462 million, according to financial statements audited by KPMG and posted on MEC’s website.
Arrata, the former CFO of Best Buy, says the co-op is at a turning point, facing slow sales, inventory backups, supply chain problems and ever-increasing online competition.
“The sales growth hasn’t materialized, as we’ve seen increased competition by traditional big-box players and emerging e-commerce players,” Arrata said in a statement Tuesday about the recreation equipment giant’s financial challenges.
Since its founding in Vancouver in 1971, MEC has expanded to 20 cities across Canada with 2,700 employees, and today bills itself as Canada’s largest supplier of outdoor clothing and recreation gear with a reputation for a commitment to environmental protection.
But some longtime MEC members say the 22-store co-op has lost money by spending too much on stores in Toronto and Vancouver and racking up more debt while inventory piled up and sales slowed because of stiff competition from online retailers like Amazon.