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Point Zero

Point Zero is a brand focused on providing “luxury for everyone,” and since 1979 it has helped customers create the looks that define their personalities. Over the years, the company built itself into a highly successful wholesaler of fine clothing for men and women of all ages, but the company’s reach remained limited to customers who could find its catalogs.

All of that changed in 2006, when the company opened its first retail store in the city where it all began: Montreal. According to Retail President Brian Edgar, Point Zero has spent the last several years building up its retail operations and now stands ready to take the next step into a larger world. Edgar states the company is making a big effort to improve the overall look and feel of its retail locations while tapping into exactly what customers are looking for today.

“Brands today have become the new breed of social culture by providing social, psychological and emotional security, as well as by providing a much- needed sense of belonging and aspiration,” Edgar says.

“Our job is to receive our target market’s needs and to provide them with a brand, an environment and an experience that has meaning, depth, value, consistency and direction,” he adds.

With retail stores struggling to survive through the worldwide recession, Edgar believes the time is right for Point Zero to make a splash on the retail landscape. With its efforts to redefine the shopping experience in its stores, Point Zero is on its way to making this happen.

The Look and Feel

Point Zero entered the retail world several years ago, and Edgar says the move came with a steep learning curve for the company. “The challenge that we were having was that we’re a wholesale-based business, and when we went into retail we didn’t have a lot of history in retail,” he says.

The company’s first retail efforts in Canada proved successful enough for Point Zero to establish stores in places like Costa Rica, Saudi Arabia and Australia. Nevertheless, Edgar says the company still is working on refining its retail formula, and has focused its efforts on redesigning its retail stores. “We’ve conceptualized and we’ve worked with a design company to design our stores over the last six months,” he says.

The process has involved looking at the company’s “DNA” and determining what customers expect from Point Zero stores as well as optimizing the look and feel of those stores. Edgar says the “global and holistic” approach the company has taken is creating a multisensory experience that further connects customers to the Point Zero brand. Through the use of materials and design elements such as authentic wood surfaces, antique trunks, industrial-chic concrete treatments and classic Canadian heritage artifacts, Point Zero is creating a distinct retail environment for customers.

The store is broken into four specific zones, which Edgar says creates “a continuously evolving and surprising journey” for customers. The “Modern Casual” section showcases Point Zero’s lead products in an industrial chic setting, while the “Heritage House” sportswear section is a more relaxed atmosphere. The “Authentic Cool” section is the largest, allowing for larger product story statements while maintaining a “sense of discovery,” Edgar says. The last section is the store’s “Denim Bar,” which features the store’s wide selection of denim fits and washes.

High Fashion

Point Zero focuses on fashion. The company has more than 20 design professionals who travel the world searching for the latest trends and hottest new styles, the company says. From underwear to casual wear to outerwear and accessories, Point Zero makes attractive and affordable style its top priority.

“We’re trying to differentiate ourselves through product,” Edgar says.

Fashion is all about choices and making a statement, and Point Zero gives its customers a wide selection of options so they can assemble the perfect look for themselves. “It is important to the success of our company to be the one-stop shop for clothing and accessories,” the company states. “Walking into a Point Zero store, you can create a whole look without having to go elsewhere.”

A primary example of the quality and style found at Point Zero is the M. Benisti Collection, a line of men’s clothing found at the company’s retail stores. The M. Benisti Collection blends luxurious tailoring and modern style with easy care and affordable pricing. “This quiet confidence transcends financial status,” the company explains. “The value associated with all M. Benisti articles are within the grasp of the majority of men – only the look is expensive.”

Although the company’s goal is to provide high fashion at lower prices, Edgar emphasizes that Point Zero won’t participate in the pricing conflicts he sees going on in the apparel marketplace. “When it comes to the competition right now what I feel is happening in the industry is there’s a fair amount of price wars right now,” Edgar declares, adding that the company prefers to let the quality of its clothing work for itself. “We don’t want to get into a price war; it’s too difficult at this time.”

Doing It Right

Edgar says Point Zero doesn’t have designs on suddenly becoming the largest apparel retailer in Canada overnight. Point Zero’s goal is to focus on expanding domestically gradually and to take opportunities to expand internationally when they arise. With the company’s strong wholesale business still in place, Edgar says Point Zero can afford to be patient with its expansion plans.

“Really, it’s not a matter of financing; it’s a matter of finding the right partners and the right locations to go forward,” Edgar says. “It’s exciting.”

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