At the beginning of 2015, things were looking less than promising for the Canadian retail landscape. An array of stores had shut down, and Target’s massive Canadian experiment had been a massive failure. But with the holiday season just around the corner, retail in Canada is looking more promising than ever with a number of luxury brands from all over the world set to open in the next few months.
For several years now Nordstrom has rumored a 2015 opening date with shops officially opening last Friday in Vancouver and coming soon to Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Treading lightly Nordstrom plans to expand within Canada slowly but surely opening only six stores in the next three years. Their goal is to emulate the unique customer experience they have in the states, with group change rooms, phone charging stations and even a bar!
The Swiss luxury brand known as OMEGA plans to expand their presence into Toronto this fall as well, making its debut in Toronto’s Sherway Gardens. Operated by the upscale jeweler L’Oro the 400 square foot retail environment will be part of Sherway Garden’s $550 million expansion.
Saks 5th Avenue also secured their name on the Canadian expansion list when they recently set their February 18th, 2016 opening date in the Hudson’s Bay building in Toronto’s Eaton Centre. With the intention to stay true to its New York flagship’s design, it anticipates a grandiose size of 170,000 square feet, with personal shoppers available for an added chic customer experience. The second store is planned to open only a week later in Sherway Gardens as well.
It’s no wonder we are an attractive choice for expansion for countries like the United States. With fairly similar legal systems, a shared language and geographic proximity, it makes for an easy switch. Not to mention parallel consumer spending habits and income, and with the influence America has on Canadian media, the advertisements have permeated naturally over the years.
Other notable brands are rumored to make an appearance in the halls of our Canadian’s malls in the upcoming years as well. The start of this retail transformation may have been slow with a few bumps along the way, but as they say, slow and steady wins the race. Also worth mentioning is the noticeable improvement Canadian stores have shown in ways of e-commerce adoption. Once criticized for our tortoise-like movement we are now being praised for the strides we are making with e-commerce advancements. Shopper’s Drug Mart recently made headlines as they introduced and expanded their online capabilities. In August, Shoppers opened their first online beauty boutique store where you can surf the web for your favorite beauty brands and still obtain your beloved Optimum points.
It is exciting to see things pick up for retail in Canada after the uncertain times we endured in 2013, and 2014. The opening of Nordstrom, Saks 5th Avenue, and other international luxury brands are proof that retail is on the rise in Canada and worth the investment. While foreign companies are expanding on Canadian soil, local brands are putting their efforts toward online growth.The retail industry is not going anywhere; it’s coming to us!