By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
Upscale fashion, beauty and accessories retailer Nordstrom opened its first store in Canada this week. Seattle Times reported more than 2,000 shoppers were at the grand opening. The store is located in Chinook Centre in Calgary, and is the first of six planned stores throughout Canada. Nordstrom chose to locate their Calgary store in the Chinook Centre, a large mall comprised of 250 retailers. The leasing page for the mall touts its location in “the heart of the City's largest most affluent neighborhoods.” The enclosed shopping center features a diverse mix of high-end retailers in fashion, jewelry, home décor, and luxury goods, with Nordstrom occupying 140,000 square feet in two levels.
Nordstrom has already announced the other planned locations and projected opening dates for the next five stores throughout Canada. The retailer will have stores in multiple provinces, with Ottawa's store opening in March 2015, and Vancouver's opening in Fall 2015. Three stores will be opening in Toronto, with the first arriving in Fall 2016. Nordstrom has added a webpage on their main site where shoppers can get news and updates regarding the Canadian expansion. A video reel on the page offers web visitors a look at the gala opening on Wednesday, September 17. The official grand opening was September 19. Inside, shoppers were treated to a “Beauty Bash,” which offered bags of free samples. The Calgary store is also one of the new locations to feature a redesigned look for the department store. The design includes enhanced light thanks to full walls of windows for an airy and brighter shopping experience.
Multiple retailers are angling to make their move into Canada recently. Burger King announced last month it would purchase Canadian coffee and bakery chain Tim Hortons, a deal that would relocate the company's headquarters to Canada as the merger created a new parent company for both retailers. The news was met with mixed reactions. Popular American retailer Target has faced struggling sales in Canada upon the opening of its new stores, but has made aggressive price drops to fight against other stores. However, based on the reception of Nordstrom by the store's demographic, Nordstrom Canada should do well. NASDAQ reported in March 2014 that the Canadian expansion had caused Nordstrom to delay opening more of its outlet stores, Nordstrom Rack, for the time being.
Shoppers lined up for hours to be one of the first individuals in the Calgary store, to the delight of the retailer. “Our expectations are high here. It’s a big deal for our company to have our first store internationally but it’s also so that we enter with a lot of I think necessary humility that we’re the new guy in town and our success is going to be defined by the customer,” says Erik Nordstrom, President of Nordstrom Direct.
Nordstrom is based in Seattle, Washington, and operates over 100 full department stores, 142 Nordstrom Rack locations, two Jeffrey boutiques, and a single Last Chance clearance store. Despite other retailers such as Walmart suffering a sales slump, the company has seen five consecutive years of growth, and analysts are predicting a 2% rise in earnings per share for 2015.