|Hudson's Bay, Rideau Street, Ottawa. Image: Google Streetview screenshot|
Ottawa could get a Saks Fifth Avenue store as part of its announced Canadian store openings. Ottawa's Saks would likely be located within Hudson's Bay on Rideau Street. Hudson's Bay owns the 335,000 square foot Ottawa store outright, meaning Saks would pay no rent to occupy space within.
Ottawa could be a desirable city for Saks Fifth Avenue, given they city's relatively high incomes and a population exceeding one million. Ottawa's incomes are high compared to most Canadian cities, largely as a result of relatively high paying civil service jobs. Ottawa also lacks many upscale shops and designers available in other Canadian cities, meaning Saks could secure many of the designers it would want without having to compete with other retailers.
If a full-sized Saks opens within the Rideau Street Hudson's Bay, it would be in the 75,000 to 120,000 square foot range. Saks could also possibly occupy a floor or more of the existing store, or operate as one or more Saks "departments" within the existing store (we're not a fan of this option, given the vastly differing perceptions of Hudson's Bay and Saks as retailers).
Opening Saks within the Rideau Street Hudson's Bay could be a good move, as competitor Holt Renfrew is far removed at 240 Sparks Street in Downtown Ottawa. Holt's Ottawa store is only about 36,000 square feet over two floors, and it lacks many of the interesting features and designers found in larger Holt Renfrew stores. Holt's also lacks some labels Saks would desire, most noticeably Louis Vuitton. We think a Saks in Downtown Ottawa could see shops like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Gucci, and Ferragamo, among others.
Saks would join the recently announced 157,000 square foot Nordstrom store, to be located across the street at Rideau Centre. La Maison Simons will also open across the street from Hudson's Bay/Saks, though Simons carries mostly moderately priced, private-label merchandise. Saks' primary menswear competitor would be Rideau Centre's Harry Rosen store, set to undergo a substantial renovation as part of the company's growth and improvement strategy.
Saks Fifth Avenue's opening on Rideau Street would further create an exceptional shopping experience for the area. With anchors like Nordstrom, La Maison Simons and a renovated Hudson's Bay (as is planned) in the area, Saks as a fourth anchor, would likely make gains at Holt Renfrew's expense. It should be noted that despite planned renovations to Rideau Centre, Hudson's Bay will remain connected to the mall by an existing pedestrian walkway. Given the increased popularity of Rideau Centre, Hudson's Bay (and possibly Saks) should be breathing a huge sigh of relief.