Popular off-price multi-brand American footwear retailer DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse continues to expand in Canada, after opening its first locations in the Greater Toronto Area in August of 2014. A Winnipeg store will open next month, and more are anticipated in various markets, including its first stores in Quebec.
DSW Inc.’s Chief Commercial Officer Simon Nankervis explained that the retailer is seeing tremendous success in Canada, and that the retailer’s first store in Manitoba will open on May 3 at the Outlet Collection Winnipeg. That store will be DSW’s 24th in Canada, and a 25th is expected to open later this year in Edmonton — a fourth for Alberta’s capital city.
Mr. Nankervis said that DSW will look to further expand into major metropolitan areas that could support more locations. The Vancouver/Lower Mainland area currently only has two DSW stores, as does Calgary — markets such as these have room for more locations, provided the ‘right’ real estate opportunities arise. The Ottawa region, with over one million residents, currently has just one DSW Shoes store, while Saskatoon currently has none (Regina’s DSW opened about a year ago, so an eventual Saskatoon location is almost certain).
The province of Quebec, with over 8-million residents, currently has no DSW locations. Mr. Nankervis noted that the large market represents a substantial percentage of the Canadian population and as such, will be a target for the company as it continues to grow its brick-and-mortar operations.
Mr. Nankervis said that there is currently no specific ‘target’ in terms of the number of DSW stores that will eventually operate in Canada. The company’s US operations are profitable and continue to see strong growth from its 500+ stores in 43 states.
DSW Shoes is also heavily invested online, and often uses stores as pick-up locations for eCommerce purchases. The company will be launching new initiatives to be announced this year not only for its DSW nameplate but also for its Town Shoes, The Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse banners — DSW acquired a controlling interest in Town Shoes Inc. almost exactly three years ago, and continues to operate all four retail concepts concurrently.
Moving forward, DSW’s new Canadian stores will typically be in the 15,000 to 20,000 square foot range, carrying thousands of pairs of shoes from a wide range of designers. DSW also carries a variety of accessories and leather goods and the Winnipeg store, for example, will feature a 1,500 square foot space dedicated to women’s handbags in a variety of styles. The Winnipeg store will also feature a ‘DSW Kids’ department — the ninth in Canada, after launching in eight existing DSW stores on March 1 of this year. The DSW Kids collection includes footwear for toddlers through teens, with over 300 styles of boys’ and girls’ footwear ranging from dressy to athletic and boots to sandals.