Le Château makes and sells affordable ready-to-wear apparel, accessories and footwear for men and women. It has built a reputation for quickly reproducing low-cost versions of the fashion trends disseminated by major international brands. This strategy is possible thanks to the company’s vertically integrated operations. In other words, Le Château controls every stage, from design to production to marketing.
Founded by Herschel Segal, the first Le Château store opened its doors in 1959 on Montreal’s St. Catherine Street.
In the 1960s, the business grew into a chain of clothing boutiques for men, women and teens. In December 1983, Le Château was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. In the years that followed, the company expanded outside the country thanks to a franchising system that created shops in the United States, the Middle East and Vietnam.
In 2010, Le Château launched its first e-commerce Website to serve Canadian and American customers. Five years later, the site added the “Wedding Boutique” to dress brides and wedding guests from head to toe. These products are available exclusively online.
At various points in its history, Le Château has invited well-known designers and celebrities to design capsule collections. The first such collaboration was with designer Jean-Claude Poitras in 1990 and 1991. More recently, the company worked with actress Lauren Holly in 2014, designer Louise Labrecque in 2015, and reality TV star Roxy Earle in 2018.
As of 2018, Le Château operated 143 branded stores across the country. However, the company no longer has any foreign franchises. Approximately 30% of its merchandise is produced in Canada, in its own factories. Some 1,784 employees work for Le Château, which is run by Jane Silverstone Segal, the wife of Herschel Segal. She has been Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer since 2006.
First Le Château store, 1959. Photo courtesy of Le Château
Annual Report, Le Château, 1990. Photo courtesy of Le Château
Jean-Claude Poitras for Le Château, 1990. Photo courtesy of Le Château
Ensemble, Le Chateau, about 1971. M971.97.3-4 © McCord Museum
Jolicoeur, Martin. « Le Château se lance dans le marché lucratif des mariés » Les Affaires, Médias Transcontinental S.E.N.C., 6 May 2017, http://www.lesaffaires.com/secteurs-d-activite/commerce-de-detail/le-chateau-se-lance-dans-le-marche-lucratif-des-maries/594685.
Jolicoeur, Martin. « Le Château touche un nouveau creux » Les Affaires, Médias Transcontinental S.E.N.C., 15 June 2017, http://www.lesaffaires.com/secteurs-d-activite/commerce-de-detail/le-chateau-touche-un nouveau-creux/595591.
Madeleine Goubau, Contributor
© McCord Museum 2021