Nordstrom Now Looking North for Expansion?

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Is Vancouver’s Pacific Centre mall getting a new anchor? Nordstrom?

Seattle—Not even a month after Nordstrom finally confirmed its first Manhattan flagship, rumors continue to circulate about more of the  retailer’s expansion plans—this time into Canada.

According to published reports, Nordstrom plans to open four stores, including three in locations Sears Canada plans to close.

The first four stores would be: the Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Chinook Centre in Calgary, Ottawa’s Rideau Centre and Sherway Gardens mall in Toronto.

“We don’t have anything to announce. We’d like to be in Canada, we’re actively looking,” Nordstrom spokesperson Brooke White told the Globe and Mail in Toronto.

“We’re actively looking and talking to various developers,” White confirmed when asked about potential Sears locations.

Sears Canada, like its U.S. counterpart, is undergoing a turnaround that includes closing stores and selling leases back to its landlord, Cadillac Fairview Corp. for some $170 million. In many cases, that would open prime anchor positions in key markets.

Competition to Canadian Upscale Retailers?

If true, Nordstrom would be the latest retailer to expand into Canada, a target market due to its relatively resilient economy and consumers who are usually already familiar with U.S. brands.

Among the U.S. retailers participating in a Northward invasion are:  Walmart, Express, Club Monaco and Target, which plans to open stores in 2013. But the entry of a higher end, specialty department store like Nordstrom would compete with more upscale Canadian retailers such as Holt Renfrew, Harry Rosen and the Bay, all of which have stepped up their games recently.

The Bay reportedly has been in talks with Bloomingdale’s about a partnership that could see Bloomingdale’s boutiques in Bay stores.

“There will continue to be a lot of change in the market,” said Neil Linsdell, an analyst at Industrial Alliance Securities in Montreal. “Everybody is going to have to step up their game.”

And if reports are correct, Nordstrom and Canadian mall operators has been “locked in negotiations for months” as Nordstrom is purportedly a tough negotiator “demanding relatively low rents in exchange for drawing big crowds to its stores and the rest of the mall,” reports stated.

Nordstrom is allegedly awaiting approval from its board of directors for the four Canadian locations as well as final documents.