US department stores looking to Canadian market for growth


While the U.S. is seeing a vast decrease in its number of department stores, the Canadian market is experiencing an opposite phenomenon.


Here, the industry is expanding. This is exemplified by the opening of Toronto’s first Nordstrom location, which celebrated its launch on Friday. Additionally, over the past few years, Hudson’s Bay has spent $1 billion to renovate many of its 90 stores across the country. Moreover, Nordstrom will have four Canadian stores with its Nordstrom location, and two more are planned. The luxury department store Holt Renfrew has paid also $300 million to remodel its outlets, while La Maison Simons is working to extend its reach across much of the country.


Because fewer department stores compete for shoppers in Canada than they do in the US on a per-capita basis, this market has become extremely attractive to struggling American companies.


“Canada seems like the natural first stepping-off point to go international,” Jamie Nordstrom, the president of Nordstrom stores, said. “We’re certainly aware of what other retailers have done, and we try to be students of how different people have approached that.”


However, Target’s recent failure to enter the Canadian market makes some retailers wary. As such, those looking to make an impact with Canucks need to come into the game with a well thought-out game plan.