During a recent hearing at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice gave Nordstrom Canadian permission to commence liquidation of its merchandise.
Nordstrom Canada needed court approval because it is closing down its Canadian operations under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, which helps businesses that are insolvent restructure or end operations in an orderly way.
As part of the wind down, Nordstrom will shut down its six Canadian department store locations and seven Nordstrom Rack shops that sell designer goods at discount prices.
When Nordstrom announced the development in early March, it said its stores were expected to close by late June and 2,500 workers to lose their jobs.
The exit from the market was initiated by Nordstrom because chief executive Erik Nordstrom said, “despite our best efforts, we do not see a realistic path to profitability for the Canadian business.”
Nordstrom first took interest in Canada in 2012 and opened its first store in Calgary at CF Chinook Centre in September 2014.
Its presence in Canada grew over the years as its massive stores occupied hundreds of thousands of square feet at CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa, CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Yorkdale Shopping Centre and CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto.
Nordstrom Rack, the off-price division of Nordstrom, Inc., made its Canadian debut in 2018 at Vaughan Mills, a mall north of Toronto. Nordstrom said at that time that as many as 15 more Rack locations could follow.
Nordstrom pledged that each Rack would deliver savings of around 70 per cent on apparel, accessories, home, beauty and travel items from 38 of the major 50 brands sold in its Canadian department stores.
A day after Nordstrom announced its exit, Tamara Szames, Executive Director and Industry Adviser of Canadian retail at the NPD Group research firm said Nordstrom had difficulty with profitability due to its selection of products and the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said: “You would hear a lot of Canadian saying that the assortment wasn’t the same in Canada that it was in the U.S.”
She discovered Nordstrom started shifting its product mix away from some luxury brands around 2018 and saw it as a signal that the retailer was finding it difficult to maintain its original vision and integrity.
The pandemic worsened matters as many stores were forced to temporarily close in an effort to tackle the virus and customers were less likely to demand some of the items Nordstrom sells like clothing items because events were cancelled.
Despite stores reopening and many sectors reviving, Szames said the apparel business is the only industry NPD Group tracks that has not recovered from the health crisis.
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