Au Revoir, French Connection

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of another retailer in Toronto. This time around it is the U.K. based brand ‘French Connection’ which has been shutting down its Toronto stores over the past year and a half.

Catapulting to the mainstream fashion scene in Toronto back in the early 2000’s, the brand capitalized on the growing trend of their FCUK branding. There was a time it wouldn’t be surprising to see people walking on the street in a shirt that displayed slogans like: ‘Wanna fcuk?’ or ‘fcuk off’, and it seemed the company had an easy time selling the tees at $70 and up.

French Connection catapulted to fame world wide for their FCUK branding.

Fast-forward almost 15 years, several new store locations later, and consumers seem to be telling French Connection to ‘Go FCUK itself!’

Following the path of retailers like Jacob, Target, Mexx and others, the company has been closing out their Canadian locations. Slow sales, unimpressive products and lackluster service were damaging the brand and the company was bleeding money.

While trying to change it’s image, the brand wound up producing less than desirable merchandise that didn’t resonate well with customers. The hand painted shirt above has been compared to another famously funny painting.

First to close was the Toronto Eaton Centre location, followed by Yorkdale Mall and the soon-to-be-closed Queen Street West location. Most of the Canadian headquarters has been disbanded over the past year, including their social media coordinators. The brand’s Canadian Twitter account, although still active, hasn’t been updated since November of 2014.

The future of French Connection as a clothing brand isn’t all gloom and doom though. While Toronto consumers have disconnected from the French Connection, some locations in Canada (Sherway Gardens, Vancouver, Vaughn) will remain open for the time being. Their head offices in the U.K. seem to be focused on their loyal customers elsewhere in the world (mostly Europe and specifically England).

The good news for consumers? The company is still offering merchandise online for Canadian customers, including some steep discounts.

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