In 2015, CNN reported Nordstrom “may actually hit the bull’s eye in Canada,” with one expert saying the American company was off to a “promising start” with its expansion from the U.S. to the north. At the time, Nordstrom had just one store here, in Calgary, and had plans to open more in Ottawa and Vancouver.
Less than a decade later, Nordstrom Inc. is closing all of its Canadian stores and cutting 2,500 jobs as it winds down operations in the country.
The Seattle-based retailer has six Nordstrom and seven Nordstrom Rack stores in Canada, which it announced Thursday will be shuttered by late June. Its e-commerce business, nordstrom.ca, was to cease operations by the end of the day.
Chief executive Erik Nordstrom said the closures were the result of regular reviews the company conducts that challenged its longtime plans “to build and sustain a long-term business” in Canada.
“Despite our best efforts, we do not see a realistic path to profitability for the Canadian business,” he said in a statement.
While it’s the latest American retailer to close shop in Canada, Nordstrom is far from the only one. Here are other American retailers that tried — and ultimately failed — to make a lasting mark in Canada.
J.Crew, an American-based clothing retailer, filed for bankruptcy protection during the start of the pandemic in 2020. The company’s troubles didn’t begin there. J. Crew began winding down operations in Canada by closing stores across the country. It closed its Toronto Eaton Centre location in early 2019, while its shop at the city’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre was its last store standing.
In 2021, 10 years after the retailer first opened shop in Canada, the Yorkdale location also closed, and J. Crew began operating solely online for Canadian customers.
Department store Sears reigned for more than 65 years in Canada, but met its final demise in 2018 with the closure of its remaining Canadian posts.
Liquidation sales started at Sears’ 130 stores in Canada at the end of 2017 after the company, which started restructuring amid huge losses, received court approval to shut down all of its operations. All 37 of its remaining locations in Canada closed in 2018, leaving large swathes of empty real estate in malls across the country.
One of the U.S.’s top retailers, Target, opened its Canadian stories to fanfare in 2013, even flying Sex in the City star Sarah Jessica Parker and actress Blake Lively to Toronto to celebrate the opening of the city’s first location.
Less than two years later Target closed its operations. The retailer sought creditor protection in early 2015. Unable to keep the shelves stocked or meet pricing expectations, it could not attract enough repeat customers to thrive in Canada.
In 2009, Wal-Mart announced it would be closing all its Sam’s Club stores — comparable to a Costco — in an effort to focus on its “supercentre” concept.
The announcement affected the company’s six Sam’s Club locations (in Pickering, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, London, Cambridge and Etobicoke) and saw around 1,200 employees either lose their jobs or moved to existing stores, the Star reported at the time.
American clothing retailer Express Inc. announced it was closing its 17 Canadian stores in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario in 2017, citing a challenging Canadian retail environment and unfavourable exchange rates that prevented the company from meetings its expectations in Canada when it first entered the market in 2011.
At that time, the retailer had planned to introduce more than 50 Canadian stores over five years.
Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed Bath & Beyond announced last month that it is closing all of its Canadian stores, resulting in the loss of more than 1,400 jobs across the country.
“The Bed Bath & Beyond Group has been in financial difficulty for the past several years, suffering significant net losses since 2018,” said a court filing. The retailer hasn’t been successful for some time, and had a net loss of $99.5 million for the nine-month period ending last November.
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