After months of speculation and prayers to the shopping gods, Nordstrom has (finally!) officially announced the opening of the company’s first four locations in Canada. The Seattle-based retailer held a press conference in Toronto today to outline its plans to partner with Cadillac Fairview on its first stores north of the border at Sherway Gardens in Toronto, Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Chinook Centre in Calgary, and Rideau Centre in Ottawa.
The Sherway Gardens location will be a newly-constructed store, while the others are former Sears sites that will be vacated this fall and renovated by Nordstrom. The new locations are tentatively scheduled to open as follows:
- Chinook Centre, Calgary: two levels, approximately 140,000 square feet in Fall of 2014
- Rideau Centre, Ottawa: two levels, approximately 157,000 square feet in Spring of 2015
- Pacific Centre, Vancouver: three levels, approximately 230,000 square feet in Spring of 2015
- Sherway Gardens, Toronto: two levels, approximately 138,000 square feet in Fall of 2016
Not soon enough by my measure, but we’ve waited this long already, so what’s another few years? For our patience, we may just be rewarded with a few more stores: Nordstrom also announced that it will continue working on further expansion opportunities for both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack (yes!) in Canada in the future.
Excited? You have good reason to be. Nordstrom was recently named the top American luxury retailer in a consumer survey, no doubt as a result of its legendary customer service. Between accepting a customer’s return of car tires that Nordstrom obviously doesn’t sell and driving to the airport to deliver packages accidentally left behind by a visiting shopper, popular tales of the department store chain’s exemplary customer service are both unbelievable and entirely true. In addition to its famously accommodating return policy, Nordstrom also price matches its competitors and throws very generous sales.
“It’s exciting to finally have this opportunity to better serve our Canadian customers closer to home and we can’t wait to open our doors,” said Erik Nordstrom, president of stores for Nordstrom, Inc. in a press release. We can’t wait until you open your doors either, Nordstrom. And now with target dates officially announced, we can mark our calendars and start counting down the days!
Image via Retail Week
How’s that for foreshadowing? Just yesterday in our post about Jason Wu’s new contemporary line, Miss Wu, we lamented the lack of Nordstrom locations north of the border. Mere hours later, The Globe and Mail reported that Nordstrom is finalizing plans to open its first department stores in Canada in the next few years – not one, not two or even three, but four of them! This, my dear fellow Nordstrom fans, is a shopaholic’s dream come true.
According to “industry sources”, Nordstrom will be launching at Sherway Gardens in Toronto, Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Chinook Centre in Calgary and Rideau Centre in Ottawa, three of which are former Sears sites. The Seattle-based retailer is said to be awaiting approval of the expansion from its board of directors. The news has yet to be confirmed by either Nordstrom or Cadillac Fairview, but I’m already celebrating.
Rumour has it that Nordstrom is, not surprisingly, also keen to set up shop in both Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto. However, with Sears uninterested in letting go of its TEC store and Yorkdale’s owners Oxford Properties reportedly insisting on a package deal with a Square One Shopping Centre location, this may not happen in the near term.
Nevertheless, the department store that recently topped a consumer survey of American luxury retailers – beating out Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and even Bergdorf Goodman, I might add – is coming to a Canadian city (hopefully) near you.
With it, Nordstrom brings a stellar designer list that at its U.S. locations includes everything from Gucci to Alexander Wang to Kensie; their incredibly generous Half-Yearly Sales and legendary Anniversary Sale featuring products exclusive to Nordstrom; a price matching policy I’ve had the pleasure of taking advantage of in the past (on a pair of Christian Louboutins, no less); and an unparalleled return policy with no time limit (seriously!). Essentially, Nordstrom is customer service at its finest, which will be a breath of fresh air in Canada’s luxury market. The Bay and Holt Renfrew, who will be directly affected by Nordstrom’s arrival, should take note.
I’ve been patiently waiting for years for a U.S. luxury department store chain to come north of the border, but suddenly Nordstrom can’t come soon enough. How excited are you, Canada? Because yours truly is on a high right now that’s usually only reserved for new shoe acquisitions.
UPDATE (Sept. 13, 2012):
The news has finally been confirmed! Read all the details of the new Nordstrom store openings in Canada here.
Image via Retail Week
Remember that time I met Jay Manuel? Well, we became pen pals after that, and just days before his second LG Fashion Week outing – for ATTITUDE by Jay Manuel, of course – he sent me a note inviting me backstage to witness the pre-show magic, and I accepted.
OK, I made all of that up. I was backstage before his runway presentation, but I invited myself. If not for some lovely readers of The Backseat Stylers, who happened to be the volunteers manning the dressing area and who were too nice to tell me where to go, I wouldn’t have these behind-the-scenes shots to share. So a shout out is in order (you know who you are), and I hope you get called back for the volunteer gig next season, despite me throwing you under the fashionable bus in this here post.
So why the sneaking around anyway? Well, it’s Jay Manuel, first of all, and I’m a long-time ANTM fan. Second, I’d heard that last season’s stylist, New York-based June Ambrose, had been replaced by none other than Canada’s own big name stylist, George Antonopoulos, and I wanted to see him in action. And third, the clothes! Manuel’s Fall 2011 collection featured some very covetable pieces, namely classic outerwear in vibrant colours, and I was anxious to see how he’d follow that up. The verdict? Manuel has some equally lust-worthy designs in store for Spring; the fuchsia snakeskin-print blouse, one-shoulder loose-knit sweater, and short, coral-hued jacket are all on my radar.
See complete runway show photos at Toronto Life. What’s your verdict - will you be paying Sears a visit come Spring for a piece of the ATTITUDE action too?
Jay Manuel loves my style. It’s true – he told me so; we obviously share a love for grey office attire. Never you mind that he probably says this to all the girls…I’ll take it! This little exchange between ANTM star and fangirl (i.e. me), by the way, occurred during a media cocktail at the Sears flagship in Toronto earlier this week. Manuel and his 1000-kilowatt smile were in town for a personal appearance in support of his Fall 2011 collection for ATTITUDE, Sears’ in-house label.
But did I love his style back? I browsed the ATTITUDE by Jay Manuel racks and found classic, office-ready separates, coats in punchy colours, and even some chic bags and shoes. The offerings were as I remembered from the runway show at Toronto Fashion Week – pleasantly surprising in their trendiness and overall appeal. And well-priced, too.
The standouts in the collection were the vibrant coloured outerwear pieces by far. “There’s no reason we should look drab on the outside for the whole winter!” said Manuel, and he’s absolutely right. So in the name of doing what Mr. Jay says, I’m heading back to Sears for that indigo collarless jacket that first piqued my interest at the runway show. What about you – will you be sporting ATTITUDE this winter?
I’ve been an America’s Next Top Model follower since before Cycle 1 winner Adrianne Curry married the dad from The Brady Bunch and before seasons were dubbed ‘cycles’ by the one name wonder Tyra. When a Canadian version was created and ANTM‘s photo shoot director Jay Manuel, one of my favourite ANTM personalities, took over in Season 2, I became hooked on that show too. I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Jay, so when it was announced that he’d signed a multi-year deal with Sears Canada to become the Creative Director of their private line, ATTITUDE, my interest in the department store chain was piqued for the first time in…well, ever.
Manuel’s first collection for ATTITUDE, for Fall 2011, was presented during LG Fashion Week. The hype that built up in the days leading up to the show, fueled by (false) rumours of appearances by Tyra Banks and Gwen Stefani, led to a runway room filled to the rafters. By the time the show started an hour late with an oversized Jay Manuel photo as the backdrop and a video montage of the man himself busily working on the collection, most audience members, including myself, had lost all patience. When a stunning Yasmin Warsame rounded the corner in a white pant suit, however, all was forgiven; she looked incredible (so much so that I temporarily forgot to take photos and missed snapping the opening look). From then on, a stream of Top Model alumni, including past ANTM winners Danielle Evans and McKey Sullivan and CNTM winners Rebecca Hardy and Meaghan Waller, walked the runway in an impressive array of colourful winter outerwear, chic office-ready separates and fun evening pieces.
So has Jay Manuel done what I thought was impossible and made Sears a legitimate destination for cool clothing and accessories for the fashion conscious? As I tweeted that evening, a big question mark remains until the collection hits stores this August. Jay Manuel fan or not, until I can actually feel the fabrics and assess the quality and fit in person, the verdict is out on whether these pieces will be worth the $12.97 to $139.99 price points Sears will be charging. If it passes the test though, I look forward to adding a certain blue military-inspired coat to my Fall wardrobe!
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