By Craig Patterson
Nordstrom’s off-price division Nordstrom Rack has officially launched in Canada with its first location at Vaughan Mills in suburban Toronto. The store opens to the public on Thursday morning. Nordstrom says that is plans to open as many as 15 Nordstrom Rack stores in Canada, and the company has already revealed where six of these will be located.
All of Nordstrom Rack’s Canadian stores will feature fashions, accessories and shoes with savings of between 30% and 70% off regular prices, according to the company. Merchandise will be a mix of product from full-line Nordstrom stores (about 30% in Canadian Nordstrom Racks vs. about 15% in its US locations), as well as some items specifically purchased from top brands sold at Nordstrom. Included will be 38 of the top 50 brands carried in Nordstrom's full-line Canadian stores.
The Vaughan Mills Nordstrom Rack spans 35,315 square feet and is located across from a Nike Factory Store at the east end of the hybrid outlet centre. Vaughan Mills was also home to off-price Saks OFF 5TH’s first Canadian store, which opened in March of 2016. TJX-owned Winners/HomeSense is also a tenant at Vaughan Mills and until recently, Holt Renfrew’s off-price concept hr2 had a store there, though it closed permanently along with hr2’s location in suburban Montreal.
[Above: Slideshow of the new Vaughan Mills Nordstrom Rack. Photos were supplied by Nordstrom]
Nordstrom Rack’s second Canadian store will open on April 26 at Deerfoot Meadows in Calgary. Construction on the 30,600 square foot store is nearly complete, according to locals. Calgary was also home to Canada’s first full-line Nordstrom store that opened in September of 2014 at CF Chinook Centre, only about four kilometres from Deerfoot Meadows.
On May 3 of this year, Nordstrom Rack’s first location in a Canadian downtown will open at the southeast corner of Yonge Street and Bloor Street East. It’s a very prominent location at the corner of one of the most important intersections in Canada in Toronto’s upscale and rapidly changing Bloor-Yorkville area. The 38,545 square foot two-level Nordstrom Rack store will include 8,870 square feet on the ground floor that will occupy the corner space of a retail podium now owned by First Capital Realty, with an additional 29,675 square feet of space to be located upstairs. The One Bloor Street East mixed-use tower includes a 76-storey tower with hundreds of condominium units and at its base, a Mark McEwan grocery store will open later this year in an 18,000 square foot space with a Yonge Street entrance that will be below Nordstrom Rack on the podium’s concourse level.
Nordstrom has also confirmed that it will be opening three Canadian locations in the fall of 2018, with dates to be revealed closer to their opening. These will include locations at The Ottawa Train Yards in Ottawa, at South Edmonton Common in Edmonton, and at Heartland Town Centre in Mississauga. All three locations will be approximately 35,000 square feet, according to Nordstrom.
Nordstrom has said that it plans to operate between 12 and 15 Nordstrom Rack stores in Canada, at a time when the country is seeing unprecedented growth in off-price retailers. TJX Canada’s off-price concepts Winners, Marshalls and HomeSense continue to open stores at a rapid pace Canada-wide, and the demise of Target and Sears Canada have helped the company secure more real estate for new stores. The Hudson’s Bay Company’s off-price Saks OFF 5TH concept is also expanding rapidly, with plans to operate approximately 25 stores across Canada by the end of this year.
[Above: Slideshow of the Vaughan Mills Nordstrom Rack store. Photos supplied by Nordstrom]
Nordstrom has had a presence in Canada since 2014 when it opened its first Canadian store at Calgary’s CF Chinook Centre in September of that year, followed by locations at Ottawa’s CF Rideau Centre in March of 2015, at CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver in September of 2015, and two Toronto stores in the fall of 2016 — at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, and at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. In September of 2017, Nordstrom opened its sixth Canadian store at CF Sherway Gardens -- it marked the final location for Nordstrom's full-line store expansion in Canada, though the company has indicated that more stores could follow depending on opportunity.
Nordstrom Rack was initially supposed to open its first Canadian stores in 2015 but the company took a pause and delayed it by about three years. Logistics/distribution, product assortment and the failure of Target in Canada were said to be considerations.
Northwest Atlantic is the brokerage representing Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack in Canada, and has negotiated deals nationwide.