Nordstrom's second Canadian location opens at 9:30am on March 6 at Ottawa's Rideau Centre, with a charity gala to be held two days prior. The 157,000 square foot store will be greeted with much fanfare, not unlike at the opening of its first Canadian location last September in Calgary.
The two-level Ottawa store will feature bright, contemporary interiors with light tile flooring throughout. Tiled floors allow flexibility to shrink or expand each department with carpeting, according to demand. Carpet over the tile can be moved, as it is held with adhesive. Smooth white ceilings will characterize much of the store, as opposed to the tiled ceilings and tract lighting common in most American Nordstrom locations.
The Ottawa store will feature designer merchandise at a variety of pricepoints, from the relatively affordable to the luxurious. Top-priced womenswear department Collectors will be featured, as will designer handbags and footwear priced from the moderate into the thousands. The Calgary store features pricey designers such as Valentino, Missoni, Jimmy Choo, Salvatore Ferragamo and St. John Knits, among others.
The new Ottawa store will also feature an upscale full-service restaurant, as well as its coffee concept eBar.
Nordstrom replaces the top two levels of Ottawa's former 240,000 square foot Sears store, which closed in October of 2012. Sears sold the store's lease to landlord Cadillac Fairview as it did with leases at Pacific Centre in Vancouver and Chinook Centre in Calgary, paving the way for Nordstrom's entry into Canada.
Nordstrom's first Canadian location opened September 19, 2014 at Calgary's Chinook Centre. We attended the opening and were one of thousands who lined up beforehand to be greeted by store staff who held a "clap-in" to welcome customers to the new store. Two days prior, we attended the Calgary store's opening gala which featured an impressive assortment of food, an open bar and live musical performances -- creating a party atmosphere for almost 2,000 attendees. About 1,600 tickets at $100 each sold for the March 4 Ottawa gala, benefitting the Ottawa United Way and Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation. As Nordstrom underwrites the party, 100% of all ticket proceeds go to these charities.
Nordstrom is taking a cautious approach to its Canadian store expansion. This is substantially different than Target, for example, which opened over 100 Canadian locations in a matter of only a few months. Nordstrom is learning the Canadian market as it carefully opens new stores, and has delayed the opening of its discount Nordstrom Rack division in this country until some time in 2017. Nordstrom's third Canadian store, a 230,000 square foot flagship, will open in September at Vancouver's Pacific Centre. Nordstrom will open three Toronto stores (Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre in the fall of 2016 and Sherway Gardens in the spring of 2017) and up to ten Canadian locations could eventually open in Canada, according to sources at Nordstrom.
Sources say that Nordstrom's Calgary location is doing exceptionally well, with sales 30% higher than initially forecasted.
Rideau Centre is undergoing a $360 million expansion which will see new retail space added, including a 100,000 square foot La Maison Simons which will open at the north end of the mall in August of 2016. As well, upscale menswear retailer Harry Rosen recently opened a 17,000 square foot replacement store featuring a footwear store with its own entrance, replacing a location about half its size.