Nordstrom Canada expansion to include lower-price stores

Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:31pm EDT
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By Allison Martell

TORONTO (Reuters) - U.S. luxury retailer Nordstrom Inc sees potential to open more than a dozen of its lower-priced Rack shops in Canada, and will start rolling them out after it opens the first of its namesake department stores in the country in the fall of 2014.

Formally announcing the opening of four full-sized Nordstrom stores in Canada on Thursday, the Seattle-based company's president, Blake Nordstrom, said the northern expansion was "the worst-kept secret".

Years in the making, Nordstrom's first international venture came up against a tight commercial real estate market in Canada.

"There are few retail centers that warrant the kind of investment and the kind of store we have, and so there isn't a plethora of choices," he said in an interview.

The company is one of a long list of U.S. retailers expanding into Canada, lured by a relatively resilient economy and customers who are often already familiar with U.S. brands. U.S. discount chain Target Corp is set to open 125 Canadian stores starting next spring, a move that is expected to shake up the market.

Nordstrom will open in Calgary's Chinook Centre in the fall of 2014, Ottawa's Rideau Centre and Vancouver's Pacific Centre in the spring of 2015, and Toronto's Sherway Gardens in the fall of 2016.

All four malls are operated by commercial real estate heavyweight Cadillac Fairview, which is owned by the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

In Canada, Nordstrom will come up against closely held luxury department store chain Holt Renfrew.   Continued...