Calgary to welcome Canada's first Nordstrom store
Published Thursday, September 13, 2012 9:59AM EDT
The influx of U.S. retailers into Canada is continuing, with American luxury retailer Nordstrom announcing plans to open its first Canadian stores in four cities countrywide starting with a Calgary location in the fall of 2014.
At a press briefing in Toronto Thursday morning, Cadillac Fairview vice president of development Wayne Barwise said Nordstrom had signed lease agreements to open four department stores at the Pacific Centre in Vancouver, the Chinook Centre in Calgary, the Rideau Centre in Ottawa and Sherway Gardens in Toronto.
The first store will open in Calgary in the fall of 2014, Barwise said, followed by the locations in Vancouver, Ottawa and finally Toronto.
The first three stores will move into renovated spaces formerly occupied by Sears, with the Toronto location moving into a new-construction store.
In his remarks to reporters, Nordstrom President Blake Nordstrom recounted the growth of the company from its beginnings as a Seattle shoe store in 1901, and said these expansion plans mark another major chapter in that history.
"This is as great a milestone in our company's history as any other time, so we are very excited about the opprtunity to be part of your country and part of your community."
Newly appointed Nordstrom Canada president Karen McKibbin said she's also excited to be taking the helm.
"I am thrilled to be moving to Canada to support a new generation of Nordstrom employees, nearly all of whom will be Canadian. I am also excited to work to offer terrific service to customers and to listen and learn from Canadians about how Nordstrom can serve them best," McKibbin said in a statement.
Early reports of Nordstrom's Canadian debut began circulating in July, with the company confirming the expansion earlier this week.
Nordstrom is the latest in a growing number of international retailers setting up shop in Canada.
High profile international brands including Anthropologie, J. Crew, Marshalls and Topshop have established storefronts in Canada, with several other coveted fashion brands such as Ted Baker London, Kate Spade New York, Ann Taylor and Loft all set to open their first Canadian outlets this fall.
The arrival of U.S.-based Target is also looming, with plans for the discount giant set to open 125 locations across the country next spring.
It is also rumoured that department store Bloomingdale’s is in talks with Hudson’s Bay Co. to expand into Canada, citing Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary as prime locations.
Canadians wanting to get a jump on Nordstrom's Canadian storefronts can already shop at the store's website, where prices for customers north of the border account for currency conversion, shipping fees and customs charges.
Since Nordstrom got its start as a Seattle shoe store in 1901, it has grown into a chain of more than 230 stores across the United States.
Nordstrom told reporters in Toronto that his company hopes to ultimately open as many as nine stores in Canada. The pace of growth may be slow, he added, because the company is keen to make sure its offering is tailored to the local market.
Surveying the experience of other international retailers' attempts to expand into Canada, Nordstrom said "it's a very difficult thing to do, there are cultural differences" between the U.S. and its northern neighbour.
"That's probably why, maybe, we've been slow in coming to Canada," he said, suggesting Nordstrom is keen to "get it right."