Like many Canadian apparel companies, in COVID-19's early days, Anita Canada navigated uncertainty around how the virus interacts with fabric and whether product needed to be quarantined. The company also adapted to different provincial health guidelines impacting retail partners across Canada.
Through the development of its own distribution systems and the unique value proposition of its product, Anita Canada was able to demonstrate remarkable resilience during the pandemic. And because the company had a medical products division, it was considered an essential service business that could stay open during lockdowns
“During the pandemic, we were fortunate to benefit from government programs to help businesses in the first lockdown, but we also created an ‘echo system’ within the company to help each other (our retail partners) find a path forward,” says Caskenette.
Having four production facilities in Europe and Asia that split production 50-50 meant Anita doesn’t rely on finished goods purchases, and it was able to source its own raw materials and convert them into finished goods sought out by retailers and consumers.
Anita Canada was also able to bypass the supply chain challenges and port delays experienced by many Canadian apparel companies during the pandemic by leveraging its internal transportation service, distributing mainly through Europe, and avoiding backlogs in China.
The outcome of Anita Canada’s pandemic experience was growth: While 2020 saw a significant decline in revenue, it rebounded beyond the company’s best-year (2019) figures with 24 percent growth in 2021 compared to 2019