Nordstrom opened its CF Toronto Eaton Centre flagship to huge crowds on the morning of Friday, September 16, and staff were busy throughout the weekend as hordes of shoppers descended on the store to check out its wares. The store is reportedly expected to be one of the company’s top performers.
Excited fans waited outside of the store’s mall entrances for the 10:00 am opening. As opposed to a traditional store ribbon cutting, Nordstrom staff lined up and clapped as customers streamed into the store and explored all three floors. There was a remarkable number of smiling patrons who were examining merchandise in a variety of departments. The store’s third-floor Sugarfina candy shop had a lineup to purchase almost immediately, and Nordstrom shopping bags were seen throughout the new store as purchases were being made. Sales staff we spoke with said that the store was consistently busy throughout the day, with one comparing it to Macy’s Manhattan flagship during the busy Christmas season.
The 220,000 square foot store replaces a Sears Canada location that was once occupied by Eaton’s Canadian flagship. Antony Karabus, CEO of leading consultancy HRC Retail Advisory, said that Nordstrom did an extraordinary job in transforming the former Sears space into a world class flagship which is both “beautiful and shoppable”, while also featuring exceptional food and beverage offerings. He praised sales staff as being genuinely attentive and helpful, as opposed to a high-pressure transactional environment. Mr. Karabus described the store’s mix of moderate-to-luxury brands as compelling and given its unpretentious vibe, the store will attract a wide range of consumers, including consumers who are not typically accustomed to shopping in luxury stores and consumers who typically shop in boutiques. “Nordstrom is an incredible addition to Toronto and to the downtown core, filling the gap in the market between the traditional department store and very high-end retailers”, he said, going on to say that the store’s “catchment will extend well beyond downtown Toronto itself”, creating a situation where affluent shoppers may now be tempted to head to CF Toronto Eaton Centre as opposed to the nearby upscale retail offerings in affluent Yorkville.
Shoppers and curious onlookers continued to visit the new Nordstrom store throughout the weekend — adding considerable pedestrian traffic to CF Toronto Eaton Centre, which is already the busiest shopping centre in North America in terms of footfall. The store’s second-level Habitant bar and third level Bar Verde restaurant were both busy, with several patrons we spoke with expressing overall satisfaction. Nordstrom is a welcome addition to CF Toronto Eaton Centre, which has recently seen a number of new retailers open, including Mackage and Links of London.
Nordstrom Inc. co-president Pete Nordstrom told WWD that he expects the CF Toronto Eaton Centre Nordstrom to become one of the chain’s top five selling stores, joining top performing units in downtown Seattle, Bellevue Square (east of Seattle), Chicago Michigan Avenue and Vancouver BC (CF Pacific Centre, which opened in September of 2015). All but the Bellevue Square store are downtown flagships. A large Manhattan store is expected to become the chain’s highest-volume unit when it opens in 2019.
Nordstrom, as well as the entire CF Toronto Eaton Centre, is expected to only become busier after September 30 of this year when Uniqlo opens its first Canadian store at the north end of the centre. Uniqlo will be located next to Nordstrom’s north mall entrance, with signage facing Dundas Square — Canada’s answer to Times Square in New York City.
Nordstrom hosted a charity gala on Wednesday, September 14 for the new store. All of the proceeds benefitted Covenant House Toronto, Humber River Hospital Foundation, Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO), SickKids Foundation, St. Michael’s Foundation and Women’s College Hospital Foundation. Tickets are still available (nordstromrsvp.com/Toronto) for the Yorkdale gala, taking place on Wednesday, October 19 of this year, prior to the October 21 Yorkdale Nordstrom opening.
Nordstrom will be opening its next Toronto store on October 21 of this year, with a charity gala to be held two days prior. Tickets are still available for the gala, with 100% of ticket proceeds going to several notable charities. Sources at Nordstrom confirm that the Yorkdale store will carry a number of popular luxury brands not found at the downtown store, and we’ll discuss these more towards the Yorkdale store’s opening date next month.
Below are floor plans and lists of brands at the new CF Toronto Eaton Centre store, all provided by Nordstrom.
Below are more photos of of Nordstrom at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, all taken on the morning of Friday, September 16. Included are a number of 'firsts' for Nordstrom, including its first Moncler, Miu Miu and Loewe women's ready-to-wear boutiques.