Following Topshop’s exit from Hudson’s Bay last year, Nordstrom is introducing the line to its Canadian stores and ecommerce site as of April 1. Topshop entered the Canadian market about 11 years ago with shop-in-stores at Hudson’s Bay and the partnership ended following Topshop’s bankruptcy and subsequent acquisition by ASOS last year.
The Topshop 2.0 expansion in Canada won’t be nearly as grand as the one a decade ago. Nordstrom’s six Canadian stores will carry Topshop fashions for women and Topman fashions for men, as will Nordstrom’s Canadian e-commerce site. The Nordstrom stores in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto will feature an assortment of women’s and men’s clothing, swimwear and bags, being considerably less in terms of selection compared to some of the larger Topshop locations that opened within Hudson’s Bay a decade ago, including a massive 33,000 square foot shop-in-store in downtown Vancouver that was the largest international location for the retailer at the time.
Topshop owner Arcadia Group went into administration (bankruptcy protection) in November of 2020 and ASOS acquired Topshop in February of 2021. ASOS said that it was planning on closing all of Topshop/Topman’s stores while taking the brand online through ASOS’ channels.
Hudson’s Bay is said to have not been able to have come to an agreement with ASOS to keep carrying Topshop in Canada. A source said that ASOS subsequently gave Nordstrom the green light to bring the brand back to the Canadian market. After losing Topshop, Hudson’s Bay partnered with YM Inc. to launch the Forever 21 brand at Hudson’s Bay stores for the first time.
Topshop opened its first Canadian shop-in-store in 2010 temporarily at retailer Jonathan and Olivia on Ossington Avenue in Toronto. Following a partnership announcement in 2011 with HBC, the first large Topshop/Topman storefront in Canada opened in Hudson’s Bay at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in October of that year, spanning about 15,000 square feet over two levels. A rollout of larger Topshop stores followed for several years in major markets. The rollout continued with some Bay stores seeing separate smaller Topshop and Topman department areas added rather than fully branded shop-in-stores.
In 2011, then CEO Bonnie Brooks said that the retailer had plans for about 50 Topshop locations in Canada as part of a significant shakeup for Hudson’s Bay. Brooks was hired by HBC owner Richard Baker to increase sales in Bay stores which included new retail partnerships while at the same time dropping hundreds of underperforming brands. Topshop alone was expected to increase sales in Bay stores by about 10%. Baker said at the time that Topshop was expected to sell about $700 a square foot in its spaces, an impressive number considering that sales at most Bay stores were less than $200 per square foot in most departments at the time.
Topshop started as a brand extension of the Peter Robinson department store chain in London in 1964 and sold women’s fashions by young British designers such as Mary Quant and Stirling Cooper. Topshop was spun off as its own store and in 1978, the men’s division called Topman was also launched.
Prior to the bankruptcy, Topshop/Topman operated over 500 stores globally with about 300 of those being located in the UK. Topshop entered the US market in 2007 and had 11 large flagship stores in major cities. In the spring of 2019, the US division filed for bankruptcy and all of its stores subsequently shuttered.