TJX-owned off-price retailer Marshalls has opened 10 Canadian stores since August of this year, and the momentum is expected to continue into 2017. Canada is seeing more off-price stores opening than at any time in its history, and competition will become even fiercer as competitors Saks OFF 5TH and Nordstrom Rack continue with their Canadian expansion plans.
Marshalls entered the Canadian market in March of 2011 with three stores in the Greater Toronto area, followed by 2013 store openings in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. In the summer of 2014, the company expanded further, with new stores in the Maritimes and Quebec. Parent company TJX also operates the Winners and HomeSense retail chains in Canada.
Marshalls now operates 50 stores across Canada, with 10 of those having opened since August 25 of this year. The August 25 store opening was at Laurier Quebec in Quebec City, and was followed by September openings at Marche Central in Montreal, Ancaster Power Centre in Ancaster, ON, and East Hills Shopping Centre in Calgary. Marshalls’ October 2016 Canadian openings included stores at Tsawwassen Mills near Vancouver, London North Centre in London ON, Central at Garden City in Richmond BC, Tera Losa Shopping Centre in Edmonton, Langley Centre in Langley BC, and at South Keys Centrum Shopping Centre in Ottawa.
TJX has indicated that it plans to eventually operate about 100 Mashalls locations in Canada, meaning that the company’s expansion is only at the half-way point. Marshalls is working with brokerage Northwest Atlantic for its Canadian real estate site selection.
Marshalls is addressing an underserved market that is hungry for bargains, according to Farla Efros, President of leading retail consultancy HRC Advisory. She noted Marshalls’ unique positioning with a strong focus on clothing for the entire family, and how the company has researched the market and determined that there’s continued room for growth. In both good times and bad times, off-price retail often thrives, Ms. Efros said, providing the retailer with room for further growth.
That growth is being met with competition -- particularly from Saks Fifth Avenue’s Saks OFF 5TH and Nordstrom’s off-price division Nordstrom Rack, both of which are expanding rapidly into Canada. As of last week, Saks OFF 5TH had confirmed 16 Canadian store locations, with nine of those having already opened since March of this year. The retailer has said that it plans to operate 25 Canadian stores by the year 2018. Nordstrom Rack, which will open its first Canadian stores in early 2018, has confirmed five locations so far, with plans to eventually open between 15 and 20 stores in this country.
Ms. Efros noted that despite high penetration per capita in the United States, off-price retailers continue to open stores south of the border. Given this trend, and given Canadian’s proven desire for discounted products, there may be room for growth for all three competitors, not to mention TJX’s Winners nameplate, which continues to open stores aggressively across Canada as well.
(Top photo is a Google Street View screen capture)