Bloomingdale's,  Chestnut Hill MA. Photo: Callison

Last month we asked readers what stores they'd like to see in Canada, and responses flooded in. Here are your top 10 choices:

1) Uniqlo
2) DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse
3) Muji
4) Bloomingdale's
5) Trader Joe's
6) Kohl's
7) Macy's
8) Marks & Spencer
9) Madewell (by J. Crew)
10) Barney's New York

Many of these choices are of no surprise to us. Our articles about Uniqlo consistently have the highest readership on Retail Insider and given Uniqlo's popularity, it's very surprising it hasn't already opened in Canada. We've been told that Uniqlo could still be introduced to Canada through the Hudson's Bay Company, though we're not aware of the progress of any current negotiations.

DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse was also an expected choice. The company carries thousands of pairs of shoes. We've got good news: DSW is already looking to expand into Canada. To make things even better, The Shoe Company is reportedly looking to open a chain of similar shoe stores.

Bloomingdale's could open in Canada and for a while it was in talks with The Hudson's Bay Company to open in-store concessions. The deal unfortunately fell through, though Hudson's Bay instead  bought Saks Fifth Avenue, which it will bring to Canada within the next couple of years.

Specialty grocery store Trader Joe's is definitely a top pick of ours, and we think reasonably priced organic food would do well in Canada. We're not yet aware any intentions for the company to open in Canada. Interestingly, an attempt by a Vancouver-based entrepreneur to sell Trader Joe's products in Canada was met with litigation.

Kohl's is looking at the Canadian market, though it may be deterred by recent problems encountered by Target's Canadian expansion. We've been told that Kohl's could be a possible purchaser of Sears Canada, though we've also been informed that Sears Canada could be purchased by a large Canadian retailer (and we don't mean Hudson's Bay).

Macy's was a surprising choice in our opinion, given how similar it is to our own Hudson's Bay. Having visited both stores regularly, we're seeing Hudson's Bay actually surpassing Macy's as a retailer in many respects, and we'll do an article specifically discussing this.

We'll be contacting these retailers directly, letting them know that you want them in Canada. Are there any other stores you'd like to see open in Canada? We'll update this article in the New Year. Please leave your comments below or follow this link to our Facebook page. Also, you can leave comments via our Twitter.


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We're asking readers what retailers they'd like to see open stores in Canada. We want your feedback, and we'll be contacting your top choices to suggest that they open Canadian store locations.

As a test, yesterday evening, we asked our Twitter followers what retail stores they'd like to see open in Canada. The answer was, overwhelmingly, Japanese value-priced retailer UNIQLO. Given the readership of our previous articles on Uniqlo, we're not surprised.

With Uniqlo in mind, we're creating a list of the retailers Canadians would most like to see in Canada. Once we've compiled a list of about 10, we'll then contact these retailers to learn of their possible Canadian expansion plans. If necessary, we'll encourage readers to join us in petitioning these retailers to come to Canada. 

So, what retailers would you like to see open in Canada? DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse? Bloomingdale's? Muji? Henri BendelFendi or Bottega Veneta? Please feel free to comment below or provide your suggestions on our Retail Insider Facebook Page or tweet us on our Twitter Page. Hopefully we can help encourage even more exciting retailers to join the Canadian market.


New Hazelton Lanes renderings, including the Avenue Road/Yorkville Avenue corner. Photo: Greybrook Realty Partners 

Toronto's Hazelton Lanes will grow even larger than anticipated, and it could include an upscale department store. We previously reported that Hazelton Lanes' landlord was seeking to renovate the mall for luxury tenants, and we posted the originally proposed lease plans for the project. The mall's owner has since secured space for further development. Hazelton Lanes will therefore become even larger than we expected, expanding to the corner of Yorkville Avenue and Avenue Road. 

Originally, that corner site was to be developed by landlords Empire Communities and Greybrook Realty Parnters. It would have included some retail underneath a luxury residential highrise. Empire/Greybrook have decided to align with Hazelton Lane's landlord First Capital Realty to create a substantially larger Hazelton Lanes with a corner retail presence. This development was first mentioned in a Toronto Star interview, which was published on website Urban Toronto

This latest expansion will create a substantial amount of new retail space for the Yorkville area. However, being about two blocks north of popular Bloor Street, the expanded Hazelton Lanes may have difficulty attracting desired luxury tenants. A possible solution would be securing an upscale anchor which would attract more shoppers to Hazelton Lanes, thereby setting the stage for the luxury retail it desires. One such anchor would be a department store like Bloomingdale's. This would be a score for the mall's landlords. 

Bloomingdale's stores have traditionally been over 200,000 square feet. Lately, though, Bloomingdale's has been opening smaller stores. Its new Glendale and Palo Alto California stores will be about 120,000 square feet, and its Honolulu store will be 167,000 square feet. An expanded Hazelton Lanes could possibly offer space for such an anchor.

We would like to be clear that Bloomingdale's at Hazelton Lanes is speculation. At the same time, we've been told that there are rumours that Bloomingdale's may be part of the retail assortment being proposed to brokers seeking to fill Hazelton Lanes with luxury retailers. We doubt Bloomingdale's would move in, though we're keeping an open mind. We'll keep you updated on the expansion and renovation of Hazelton Lanes. 

[Hazelton Lanes website]


Floorplan: Henriquez Partners Architects. Red Lettering by

The landlord for Vancouver's Oakridge Centre is courting high-end American department stores including Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. We've highlighted part of a report noting this, in a new space estimated to be about 155,000 square feet. 

The image below is part of page 51 of the 74-page Oakridge Centre Retail Impact Assessment, prepared for the City of Vancouver by Coriolis Consulting Corporation. Oakridge Centre will substantially expand and is seeking the City's permission to add new retail space, including three newly built anchor stores (and an adjacent grocery store).

These three department stores aren't just random examples chosen for the report, according to source Van23H of Vancouver Skyscraper Forum. Oakridge wants one of these stores. We'll do a quick analysis of the three possible anchors: 

Saks Fifth Avenue at Oakridge Centre: 

Saks Fifth Avenue will open its first Vancouver store within the current downtown Hudson's Bay store. A second location at Oakridge might seem redundant, given its close proximity to Downtown Vancouver. It should be noted, though, that Oakridge's expansion won't be finished until after 2020 and Saks wants to be in Vancouver by late 2014. Given competition in Downtown Vancouver from Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew, it is possible that Saks could eventually exit Downtown Vancouver's Bay to open a large Oakridge store by 2021. 

Nordstrom at Oakridge Centre: 

In our opinion, Nordstrom is the least likely of the three potential department stores to move into Oakridge. Nordstrom's Downtown Vancouver store is simply too close to Oakridge, despite the somewhat differing demographic that shops at Oakridge versus Downtown Vancouver. We're not saying 'no' to Nordstrom at Oakridge, but we'd be surprised if Nordstrom opened two stores within a few minute drive/Skytrain ride from eachother. 

Bloomingdale's at Oakridge Center: 

We expect Bloomingdale's to be the front runner for Oakridge, despite the new anchor only being about 155,000 square feet. Bloomingdale's has already been looking at opening in Canada and its new stores are getting smaller. Three new American Bloomingdale's stores will be 120,000-150,000 square feet each, making the 155,000 square foot Oakridge space large enough. 

See Also: 

Van23H of Vancouver Skycraper Forum tells us that Oakridge's landlord Ivanhoe Cambridge isn't interested in having La Maison Simons as the mall's third anchor. We've gotten word, however, that Simons may have finalized a lease in another Metro Vancouver location. We'll discuss this more in the next couple of weeks. 

Thank you to 'jlousa' of Vancouver Skyscraper Forum for directing us to Coriolis Consulting's report for the City of Vancouver (.pdf)

[Oakridge Centre website]


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We think Sears Canada's days are numbered, and we think Sears might be preparing to sell off more store leases and/or sell the entire company to another retailer. We'll explain how this could pave the way for more Canadian Nordstrom stores, as well as the entry of Macy's/Bloomingdale's into the Canadian market.

Sears Canada has been struggling and has already laid off a substantial number of employees. A couple of days ago, it let go 245 Canadian employees and announced that it was moving some of its IT, finance and payroll operations to India and the Philippines. We noticed that this announcement didn't come as part of a "broader strategy" for Sears. In fact, it's just more cost cutting. And this cost cutting, in our opinion, looks more like a retailer trying to make itself attractive for a takeover than a retailer trying to turn itself around.

If Sears were to sell out, we think it could be done in two ways. First, it could sell off a few more of its primely located stores, including locations at the Toronto Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens, Polo Park in Winnipeg, West Edmonton Mall, and a few others. This could pave the way for more Canadian Nordstrom stores. Second, we know that Macy's has been considering the Canadian market for a while and is already considering bringing Bloomingdale's to Canada. Buying Sears Canada could be a strategic move for Macy's, as it could gain some prime retail space that would be impossible to build completely from scratch. We'll reveal more on Macy's/Bloomingdale's possible arrival to Canada soon.

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Readers may remember that it was originally Sears Canada's selling back some leases that led to Nordstrom's coming to Canada. Sears also recently sold back three prime Toronto area store leases, possibly opening the door for La Maison Simons in Toronto.

Several insiders tell us that morale at Sears Canada is low, both in its offices as well as its stores. We encourage everyone working at Sears Canada to hang in there, as there may be new positions coming available at some new, exciting retailers.

[Sears Canada website]


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We've received word that American retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's have been inquiring into obtaining Canadian retail space. For example, both stores recently expressed interest in the proposed third anchor store space in a substantially expanded Oakridge Shopping Centre in Vancouver. These retailers have also made enquiries with other Canadian mall landlords.

Saks' inquiries have been ongoing in Canada for the past 24 months, though they may cease temporarily now that the company is organizing for a possible sale. Saks could find Canadian business difficult since many of its core designer labels already have exclusivity agreements with Holt Renfrew, Canada's answer to Saks. 

Saks Fifth Avenue would likely struggle in Canada given the popularity (and current profitability) of Holt Renfrew. Holt Renfrew's nine Canadian stores each generate between $800 and $1000+ per square foot according to inside sources, considerably higher than most Saks Fifth Avenue stores. Holt Renfrew's per square foot sales are some of the highest in the world for such a retailer. 
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Bloomingdale's inquiries into selected Canadian retail space began not long after its negotiations with Hudson's Bay fell through. Hudson's Bay had wanted to bring Bloomingdale's concessions into Canada and had even earmarked its Yonge and Bloor Hudson's Bay store to be converted into Canada's flagship Bloomingdale's store. After talks stalled, Bloomingdale's began examining the possibility of an independent Canadian entry. Even more speculation surrounding the situation is that parent company Macy's could look to enter the Canadian market. This could be done possibly by buying out selected mall stores from a retailer such as Sears Canada, not unlike what Cadillac Fairview did to escort Nordstrom's Canadian entrance.
Hudson's Bay store in Toronto that was considered for conversion to a Bloomingdale's [Image Source]
Our in-house retail analyst doubts we'll see either Saks or Bloomingdale's come to Canada any time soon. Meanwhile, we'll keep an ear to the ground and report on any new developments since we've been told both retailers are still showing interest in Canada. 


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The National Post/Financial Post reports that Uniqlo could become a tenant within Hudson's Bay stores. Its article on Tuesday, April 11th notes that Hudson's Bay is seeking to negotiate space with Uniqlo and other retailers that might add value to Hudson's Bay's Canadian real estate portfolio. 

In November 2012 we first reported on Uniqlo's negotiations for space in the sub-basement of the Hudson's Bay store in Downtown Vancouver. We were later informed by a commercial real estate source that this Vancouver deal had stalled. We held off informing readers since there was a possibility that other Uniqlo store sites could be found, including space enquiries on Vancouver's Robson Street and on Toronto's Yonge Street. Uniqlo management has since scaled back North American expansion plans, save for some potential future West Coast and East Coast American stores. Plans for a flagship Chicago Uniqlo store were also put on hold, much to the chagrin of many Chicago shoppers
Uniqlo NYC. This would be an interesting 'look' for a Uniqlo concession at a Hudson's Bay flagship store. [Image Source]
We are unable to confirm any Canadian leasing activity with Uniqlo at this time. We hope that The National Post's article is correct as to Hudson's Bay's continued attempt to secure Uniqlo as a concession tenant. 

On Tuesday, April 11th, Business in Vancouver Magazine also reported that Hudson's Bay could be trying to secure Bloomingdale's concessions within some of its Canadian Stores.  In November 2012, we reported the confirmation from a source at Hudson's Bay that the proposed Bloomingdale's/Hudson's Bay partnership had stalled. We again hope for a Bloomingdale's entry into Canada via Hudson's Bay.
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One of Retail Insider's goals is to get Canadians excited about shopping in Canada. Uniqlo and Bloomingdale's would be exciting additions to Canadian retailing and we hope both become a reality. 

We will continue to keep readers updated on new Canadian retail. Have an excellent weekend, everyone, and thank you for reading Retail Insider.  

National Post/Financial Post article referenced:

Business in Vancouver article referenced:

Uniqlo website:

Bloomingdale's website:

Zadig & Voltaire Coming to Canada

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French clothing retailer Zadig & Voltaire will open men's and women's shop-in-store locations inside of Holt Renfrew stores in Toronto (50 Bloor Street West), Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal. 

Zadig & Voltaire was started in 1997 by the grandson of the founder of Lacoste. The brand's products are in the 'contemporary' or 'bridge' price ranges. The brand has become popular and is considered to be 'fashion forward'.
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Zadig & Voltaire has stores around the world, both free-standing and shop-in-store concessions. The company has five free-standing American stores, and has shop-in-store concessions at nine American Bloomingdale's locations. 

Zadig & Voltaire is currently advertising store supervisor employment positions for their Holt Renfrew-based stores. Some of these job postings are at this link

We will keep you updated on this company, including if other Zadig & Voltaire stores will be opening in Canada.

Thank you to our insider sources, ACT7 of Urban Toronto and Marc Adams for providing us with this article's information.

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Bloomingdale's Not Coming to Canada

"Little Sad Bag". Image: Associated Press
We just got word from a Hudson's Bay management-office insider that talks with Bloomingdale's have stalled and that it is unlikely the American luxury department store will come to Canada. We previously reported that Bloomingdale's might move to Canada via Hudson's Bay, with a free-standing Bloor Street store in Toronto and two concessions within Bay stores in Vancouver and Calgary.

Bloomingdale's signature interiors and merchandise would have been a welcome addition to Canada's Hudson's Bay. We are quietly holding some hope that the deal isn't dead but we've been told, and we quote, "don't hold your breath about Bloomingdale's coming to Canada via The Bay".

If anything changes, we'll be the first to let you know!

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Vancouver's Oakridge Centre to Get Complete Overhaul + New Anchor Store

Floorplan: Henriquez Partners Archetects. Red Lettering by Retail Insider 
Today we received plans for the overhaul of the retail component of Vancouver's Oakridge Shopping Centre. Mall space will double in size, and a new anchor tenant will be included. We'll give you a quick rundown of the project's new retail:

1) A new Hudson's Bay department store will be constructed at the North End of the mall. We have been told by Hudson's Bay management that it will include a stunning interior and will include a substantial roster of designer merchandise that will rival the recently renovated Yorkdale Shopping Centre store in Toronto. The current store will be demolished for expanded mall space

2) A new Target store will be constructed next to Hudson's Bay, while the existing Zellers store will be demolished both for the new Target and some new mall space. 

3) A completely new anchor store will be constructed at the Southern portion of the site. We will discuss this further, below.

4) A relocated, new-build Safeway grocery store at the south-end of Oakridge.

5) New indoor and outdoor-oriented retail will be created, while the rest of the existing retail space will be substantially renovated.
Floorplan: Henriquez Partners Archetects. Red Lettering by Retail Insider

Speculation is running rampant regarding who the new anchor tenant will be. After being provided the floorplans this morning (see below), we attempted to identify who the new anchor might be. We received two very interesting suggestions, and two less-likely suggestions. Our insider suggests that they think the new anchor tenant could either be la Maison Simons, or possibly (we're only speculating at the moment),  Bloomingdale's. Hudson's Bay has been in talks to bring the Bloomingdale's label to Canada and we've been told negotiations have stalled. An Oakridge Bloomingdale's might be what brings them to Canada.
Floorplan: Henriquez Partners Archetects. Red Lettering by Retail Insider
It has also been speculated that the space might go to either Nordstrom or Holt Renfrew. Our Holt Renfrew insider was unable to confirm an Oakridge location and phone calls to Nordstrom Management were not returned at press time. We note that Holt Renfrew already has its 137,000 square foot store at the North end of Pacific Centre while Nordstrom will open its 230,000 square foot store at Pacific Centre's southern end. One retail expert we consulted tells us he thinks Oakridge is too close to Downtown to duplicate Holt Renfrew or Nordstrom stores, especially given the rather large size of the proposed Oakridge anchor store. 

We will be watching this retail development very carefully and will provide you with updates on this project as information becomes available.

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We'll Be Back Shortly!

Hello Readers,

We're on vacation in a relatively remote location, and will be back posting articles in the very near future. 

Be ready for some major retail announcements coming out of Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver, you're going to see some substantial changes (for the better) on Alberni Street near Thurlow. Stay tuned!!!

-Retail Insider

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Many of North America's Most Productive Malls are in Canada

Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Photo from
We're still surprised that many Canadian malls are out-performing American malls' sales per square foot. Vancouver BC's Pacific Centre recently pulled ahead of Las Vegas' Caesar's Palace as the most productive shopping centre in North America (excluding Pacific Centre's 636,000 square foot Sears store that is closing October 7 2012). 

All prices are in Canadian Dollars (which at press time is comparable to the American Dollar). These quotes are 2012 estimates from KPMG. KPMG puts Pacific Centre's 2012 per square foot analysis at $1580/square foot. Las Vegas' Caesar's Palace comes in at about $1470/square foot. 

Here is our list of 'top 15' North American malls and their sales per square foot: 

1. Pacific Centre, Vancouver BC Canada: $1580/sq ft
2. Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas NV USA: $1470/sq ft
3. Toronto Eaton Centre, Toronto ON Canada: $1320/sq ft
4. Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto ON Canada: $1300/sq ft
5. Ala Moana Shopping Centre, Honolulu HI USA: $1250/sq ft
6. Oakridge Shopping Centre, Vancouver BC Canada: $1200/sq ft
7. Chinook Centre, Calgary AB Canada: $1055/sq ft
8. Mall at Short Hills, Short Hills NJ USA: $1050/sq ft
9. Mall at Millenia, Orlando FL USA: $1040/sq ft
10. Rideau Centre, Ottawa ON Canada: $1020/sq ft
11: Sherway Gardens, Toronto ON Canada: $950
12: Fairview Mall, Toronto ON Canada: $880/sq ft
13: Fashion Valley Shopping Centre, San Diego CA USA: $875/sq ft
14: Peter Pond Mall, Ft. McMurray AB Canada: $850/sq ft (we're not joking about this one)
15: Garden State Plaza, Paramus NJ USA: $750/sq ft

That's 6 American malls and 9 Canadian malls. 

We note that Pacific Centre's Apple store pulls in over $70 million/year at just 5366 square feet. We're thinking Apple stores might also prop sales at some of these other shopping centres. 

We were at a bit of a loss as to why Canadian malls were higher. Then we found this excellent analysis by David Fitzpatrick of REUrbanist: This guy knows his stuff. We recommend reading his article if you're interested in examining how currencies and other factors may contribute to Canada vs. USA mall performance. Our favorite quote from David's article?

"I think this chart just shows that you are getting ripped off a lot more than you were a decade ago when you buy retail merchandise in Canada. That $150 CDN dress you bought is worth $150 USD today, but would have been worth only $95 USD in 2002. And most likely, you are taking on increasingly depressing levels of consumer debt to make that purchase." (this comes after the author noting a direct correlation between the closing currency gap and the increased productivity of Canadian malls)

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New La Rinascente Department Store for Rome

Image courtesy of Reuters
Italy's La Rinascente will open a new, 189,000 square foot department store in Rome’s central Via del Tritone in early 2015. Similarly-sized stores will open in Venice and Florence. 

La Rinascente's Milan flagship store has undergone a 'luxury transformation' similar to stores in France and Germany. More recently, ground-floor boutiques for Louis Vuitton, Dior, Gucci, Bulgari and others have opened. Expect similar upscale offerings in Rome and the other two future Rinascente locations. 
Milan flagship La Rinascente store, including Louis Vuitton, Dior and other luxury concessions
Three new Italian department store locations point to the potential relevance of department stores in this modern age. Despite financial troubles for some larger-format stores in America and Germany, luxury-focussing department stores are entering a golden age. We will update you on department store trends in Europe and North America, as we are closely watching expanding retailers such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Galeries Lafayette, Breuninger and others. 

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Dior website:

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Bloomingdale's Moves Towards More Luxury Menswear Designers and Shops

Photo Courtesy of The Mall at Short Hills, Short Hills New Jersey

Bloomindale's is opening a collection of luxury shops-in-store for men at its Manhattan flagship. Shops will include Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton. The collection opens mid-September and indicates further luxury brand roll-outs in several Bloomingdale's stores.

Menswear makes up about 20% of Bloomingdale's revenues. Increased higher-end menswear sales means broadening merchandise selection makes sense. Bloomingdale's will roll-out men's Gucci and Prada shoes at several locations, and will continue to expand men's luxury brands in its various stores.

Cosmetics Floor at Bloomingdale's Chestnut Hill, MA

Bloomingdale's downscaled from the late 90's until recently, concentrating on bridge/contemporary labels. The iconic retailer has begun to re-focus on upscale brands, including such women's accessory shops as Chloe, Dior, Jimmy Choo,  Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Fendi, Links of London and David Yurman, women's ready-to-wear by Armani Collezioni, MaxMara and Escada, and menswear such as Duchamp, Turnbull & Asser and Ferragamo. 

It's no secret that Bloomingdale's is one of our favourite looking stores. We posted this a few months ago: /

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Louis Vuitton websiter:

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NORDSTROM Secures Leases for 4 Canadian Stores

Retail Insider was just informed that Nordstrom has secured leases for 4 Canadian stores. These locations will include:

1. Pacific Centre in Vancouver, British Columbia - ~225,000 square feet
2. Chinook Centre in Calgary, Alberta - ~140,000 square feet
3. Rideau Centre in Ottawa, Ontario - ~150,000 square feet and
4. Sherway Gardens in Toronto, Ontario - ~140,000 square feet. 

The first three locations are currently occupied by Sears stores, while the Sherway Gardens store will be a new-build Nordstrom location, corresponding with an expansion of the shopping centre. The 225,000 sq ft Sears  store at Sherway will continue to operate. Nordstrom's board of directors is expected to approve these leases by early next week, while a formal announcement could take up to two months. 

Negotiations are still underway for Nordstrom to occupy part of the current Sears store at the Toronto Eaton Centre. Talks are also underway for Nordstrom to take over the current Sears location at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre. A previous attempt at building a 165,000 sq ft Nordstrom at the East side of Yorkdale fell through, so talks to take Yorkdale's Sears is still proposed. Yorkdale's Sears store is 190,000 square feet.

Given the size of these locations, it is expected that at least the Vancouver store will include such amenities as restaurants, spas, and the luxury women's department called 'Collectors' (carrying such designers as Valentino, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Lanvin, Missoni, etc). The new Sherway Gardens store is expected to include a smaller Collector's department, which will compete directly with a future-expanded Holt Renfrew store in the same mall.

At press time, Bloomingdale's is still negotiating with The Hudson's Bay Company to open concessions within several Bay stores, including a full-line Bloomingdale's store at 44 Bloor Street East in Toronto, Ontario. 

More info to follow. Stay tuned! 

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