US and International Retailers Set Sights on Canada

October 22, 2013

The list of US and international retailers that opened their 1st Canadian store(s), during the last year alone, is impressive to say the least.

Tory Burch
J Crew
Ann Taylor\Loft
John Varvatos
Kate Spade
David Yurman
Salvatore Ferragamo
Free People
Ted Baker
Brandy Melville
Tesla Motors
White House Black Market
Vince Camuto
Watch Station
Haggar Clothing

Not enough?

How about Target? The Minneapolis based company (who purchased Canadian department store chain Zellers) has now entered the market and will finish their first year with 120 stores. Target has announced plans to open 200 Canadian stores.

Still not enough (note - you're tough to satisfy!)?

Nordstrom has confirmed plans to open 25 Canadian locations (10 full priced & 15 Nordstrom Rack). Their first store is scheduled to open in September 2014, at Chinook Centre in Calgary

In addition to the above, companies such as Victoria Secret, H&M, F21, Zara, Marshalls, Walmart,…etc are also expanding in Canada at record paces.

Not to be outdone, Canada's own Hudson Bay Company, recently purchased Saks Inc. It is widely expected that store openings will soon follow.

Allow to me highlight the five (5) primary reasons that make Canada so appealing (to so many).

1) Canada's banking sector is amongst the strongest in the world;

2) Canada has a buoyant housing market, and consumer spending is robust;

3) Canada has less shopping centres per square foot than the US. Canada has 15 sq.ft of retail space per capita vs 24 sq.ft in the US;

4) With fewer places to shop, sales per square foot in Canada are 25% higher than the US - $600 psf vs $455 psf;

5) US retailers also charge higher prices for goods, in Canada;

The vast majority of our international clients have experienced phenomenal success in Canada. Their Canadian sales eclipse US performance by > 25%. Commensurately, many of these great brands have significantly increased their Canadian open to buy for 2014\15 as well, their projected Canadian store counts.

BOTTOM LINE - Canada's fertile economy and ideal retail landscape have proven to be the perfect tonic for these growth-minded US and international retailers.

There is another factor underlying the decision of many retailers to expand (now) into Canada, that I'd like to quickly address.

Many of the new to market retailers have extensively developed real estate portfolios in their home countries and top-line expansion opportunities have been saturated. For these top brands, it has been years since they have opened locations in markets half the size of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa…etc. These Canadian cities are far more dense, lucrative, and attractive as compared to those remaining smaller market sites.

Think Retail has developed and successfully implemented Canadian market entry strategies and national real estate plans for globally recognized brands such as American Apparel, Pinkberry, Fossil, Le Creuset, Bare Escentuals, Johnny Rockets, Quiksilver, Lole, Crabtree & Evelyn…etc. On behalf of these best in class retailers, we secure flagship real estate locations in all major Canadian cities.

Coming to Canada? We are here to help!