Seattle-based Nordstrom announced Monday evening that it was shutting all of its stores amid the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes six full-line stores in Canada as well as its six Nordstrom Rack stores. It comes at a challenging time for Nordstrom in Canada, which has yet to launch its ecommerce site which was planned for the spring.
“The health and safety of our customers and employees remain our top priority as we continue to make decisions during this rapidly evolving situation. We’re taking decisive actions across the business to help protect employees, customers and others in the communities we serve,” said Nordstrom’s CEO Erik Nordstrom. The retailer also revised its financial outlook as part of the announcement.
The six Canadian stores will remain closed from Tuesday for at least two weeks. Employees will receive pay and benefits during the planned two-week closure period.
Closures include three Nordstrom units in Toronto — the flagship store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre, a store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre, and a smaller unit at CF Sherway Gardens. The CF Toronto Eaton Centre closure will be particularly disruptive as the store acts as a passage way between two components of CF Toronto Eaton Centre. The north wing of CF Toronto Eaton Centre containing Uniqlo, H&M and Samsung connect to the much larger southern component of the mall via the main level of Nordstrom, which is said to see tens of millions of people pass through annually.
Other Nordstrom stores temporarily shutting down in Canada include the Calgary store at CF Chinook Centre, which was the first Nordstrom store in Canada when it opened in September of 2014. Other mainline Nordstrom stores shutting this week include a unit at CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa as well as the highly productive flagship store at CF Pacific Centre in Vancouver which last year was said to be the chain’s top performer.
Canada’s six Nordstrom Rack stores will also close for an initial two-week time period. That includes three stores in the Greater Toronto Area at One Bloor East, Vaughan Mills and Heartland Town Centre. Nordstrom Rack’s other three Canadian stores are located in Calgary at Deerfoot Meadows, South Edmonton Common in Edmonton, and at the Ottawa Train Yards in Ottawa. Nordstrom Rack had been scheduled to open its seventh Canadian store at the Willowbrook Centre in Langley, near Vancouver, on April 23 of this year.
This spring, Nordstrom planned to launch its Canadian ecommerce site to further grow its market share in this country. In the United States, Nordstrom’s online business represents about a third of its sales. Given that Nordstrom’s first Canadian store opened about 5.5 years ago, its delayed online business is concerning for the retailer. Lost sales in Canada will be substantial over the next two weeks at a minimum, and the retailer’s Canadian stores are said to be not meeting expectations except for the Vancouver unit, according to a source in the company.
When Nordstrom does launch its ecommerce site in Canada at Nordstrom.ca, it is expected to be as robust as its popular US online shopping portal. According to Nordstrom’s Canadian website, the new transactional component will include free standard shipping and returns, online order pick in stores, and duty-free purchases in Canadian currency. Canadians can still shop on Nordstrom’s US site for the time being. According to Nordstrom, the US site offers Canadians flat-rate international shipping and returns though prices will vary given currency fluctuations. Duties and taxes are calculated at the checkout of the US site for Canadians.