It’s official: International retailers have set their sights on Canada as a new place to grow their businesses.
In the last five years, U.S. big box retailers like Marshalls, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Target—brands for which Canadians would normally plan cross-border vacation shopping trips—have opened, some to huge success and others to sluggish sales. Urban shopping centres are making the largest investment, with fashion brands choosing to open in mega-malls in Calgary and Toronto.
Calgary’s Chinook Centre leads the way: it welcomed the first Nordstrom department store in Canada this past September with shoppers lining up for hours to see the 140,000-square-foot two-level store. Yorkdale plans to open a Nordstrom location as well, along with several other stores thanks to yet another new expansion.
“When we opened 50 years ago, Yorkdale was the biggest shopping centre in the world. We’ve continued to grow to accommodate the demands of our shoppers,” says Claire Santamaria, general manager at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
In 2012, Yorkdale Mall welcomed a new expanded wing to make room for international brands such as Ted Baker London, AllSaints, John Varvatos, Tory Burch, Microsoft and others. Early this year, the shopping centre announced that it will be adding 300,000 square feet of retail space to welcome new stores including the planned Nordstrom opening, Jimmy Choo, Versace, the first Vince Camuto store in Canada and Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Jamie’s Italian.
According to the Financial Post, Uniqlo is negotiating a deal to “lease a 35,000-square-foot space in north Toronto’s high-traffic Yorkdale mall” sometime in 2016.
“We’re really proud to be seen by so many top international brands as the gateway into the Canadian market,” adds Santamaria.
Toronto Eaton Centre is also growing after welcoming a new J. Crew store in 2012. It has recently unveiled its new Ted Baker London store this past October and plans to welcome Nordstrom in 2016 (replacing the old Sears location).