Honourable Mention 2017
With 21 retail stores Canada-wide and millions of members, this sports equipment co-op has successfully developed its brand image, expanded its product offer and built its customer base. The company’s solid performance is firmly grounded in its commitment to cooperative values and to maintaining close ties with members. Its staff are not sales experts, they’re dedicated sports enthusiasts eager to share their experience. MEC has less to fear from the arrival of French retail giant, Décathlon, than does Sports Experts.
Since starting up in 1994 as an online bookseller, Amazon has been able to stay ahead of the curve and to constantly reinvent itself, often taking big risks along the way. Whether it’s the takeover of Whole Foods, the launch of Amazon Go, the implementation of cash register-free payment and the Alexa or Prime personal assistant, Amazon, a platform used by 80 million Americans, never follows the pack. As Jeff Bezos put it so well, ““Our job is to invent new options that nobody’s ever thought of before and see if customers like them.”
New York Times
In an industry better known for closures and plummeting sales, the New York Times is sticking to its growth plan, with over two million subscribers to its online edition. This strategy has paid off, bringing in over 30,000 new subscribers per month, 14% from foreign countries. The New York Times can thank President Trump in part for these record numbers, because readers looking for in-depth, well-documented reporting have flocked to the website since his election.
Truly a Québec success story, this company has shown exponential growth in the past five years, now counting over 70 stores in three provinces and a thousand jobs created. Dominique Brown owes his success to the originality of his products and to promoting a craze for his chocolate shops. Having reinvented a traditionally conservative industry, he has been able to build a loyal clientele for his always fresh new product offer.
Trailing behind for the past several years, BlackBerry finally pulled out of the smartphone war. The company is focusing on the development of software and security services, which now represent 85% of total sales. This high-margin market segment is much less competitive than telephony. The company’s gross margins showed record growth in the last quarter (+ 77 %) and shares rose 75% in 2017. What’s more, BlackBerry intends to position itself advantageously in the area of self-driving car technologies. Thumbs up to a brand that has bounced back and built on its strengths.