June 2, 2015 / 6:29 PM / 2 years ago

Hudson's Bay CEO sees overseas opportunities

TORONTO (Reuters) - Hudson’s Bay Co (HBC.TO) is setting its sights on the overseas market, the Canadian department store operator’s new chief executive said on Tuesday, but declined to comment about the company’s discussions to buy German chain Kaufhof.

A woman holds a Hudson's Bay shopping bag in front of the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) flagship department store in Toronto January 27, 2014. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Hudson’s Bay, which also operates the Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor chains in the United States, has been in extensive talks with the Metro MEOG.DE group over Kaufhof. People familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday that HBC has made an indicative offer for the German department store chain and that talks were ongoing.

“We believe that it’s a vast world, and there are many opportunities beyond the two countries that we operate today,” CEO Gerald Storch said in an interview.

Storch, a 30-year retail veteran who once headed Toys “R” Us (IPO-TOYS.N) and was vice chairman at Target Corp (TGT.N), officially joined the company in January. He had already been a close consultant for Hudson’s Bay’s Saks OFF 5th outlet business prior to his appointment.

Hudson’s Bay, founded in 1670, is already juggling multiple growth developments. Earlier this year, it announced two major real estate joint ventures with U.S.-based Simon Property Group Inc (SPG.N) and Canada’s RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (REI_u.TO).

The first two Canadian Saks stores will be opening in spring 2016, along with its first Canadian OFF 5th stores. Storch said there are no plans on the horizon to bring Lord & Taylor to Canada, however.

It is also pouring money into beefing up its e-commerce capabilities to make online and in-store operations more seamless. Storch expects the bulk of the work to be completed in two years.

The company will hold its annual shareholders meeting and report its first quarter earnings next week.

Editing by Christian Plumb

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