Saks Fifth Avenue will open a third location in Canada in January 2018, a two-level, 115,000-square-foot store in the CF Chinook Centre in Calgary, Alberta.
In February, Saks Fifth Avenue, a division of the Hudson Bay Co., opened its first two full-line stores in Canada, on Toronto’s Queen Street in Eaton Centre and in Sherway Gardens, which is also in Toronto. All three locations are properties of Cadillac Fairview. Up to seven Saks stores are seen opening in Canada over time.
“Our strategy is to opportunistically open new stores where we have the customer, the right location and we are able to deliver a consistent Saks brand edit, focused on modern fashion. Calgary, specifically the CF Chinook Centre, fits these criteria and is a logical next step in our Canadian expansion,” said Marc Metrick, president of Saks Fifth Avenue.
Saks said its Calgary store will feature “a modern and authoritative merchandise assortment including women’s designer, contemporary, modern ready-to-wear, men’s, beauty, jewelry, shoes and handbags.” The store will also have the luxury chain’s Fifth Avenue Club personal shopping service, with private suites and shopping consultants.
Calgary is a winter sports town with lots of ski resorts, considered the eastern gateway to the Canadian Rockies, draws lots of tourists, and is also known for western bars, hockey and the annual Calgary Stampede, the merchandising could be slanted in certain ways. But Metrick said, “It’s still early to talk about merchandising. However, Saks will deliver its renowned Saks experience, through a dominant assortment, a definitive edit and a world class service offering.”
Calgary is the largest city in the province of Alberta, with a population of more than one million, and one of Canada’s richest because of its oil industry. But the drop in fuel prices has impacted the economy. Asked about the economy there, Metrick said, “We don’t make decisions based on short-term market conditions. Calgary is an important market in Canada, and we have a long-term strategy.”
The Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Co. is also expanding in Canada via its Saks Off 5th outlet division. Up to eight stores are seen operating in Canada in 2016, and up to 25 in Canada within the first five years.
While Canada, despite its small population, is viewed as fertile territory for expanding the Saks and Saks Off 5th, Europe is also seen as an opportunity. Executives have previously disclosed intentions to bring Saks and Saks Off 5th to Europe, and in mid-May revealed that up to 17 Hudson’s Bay department stores and three Saks Off 5th outlets will open across the Netherlands over the next two years, beginning summer 2017.
Asked what learnings emerged from the first two Saks Fifth Avenue openings in Canada. Metrick replied, “They validated what we knew going in: that the Toronto consumer is fashion-forward, that Toronto was an underpenetrated market and there was customer demand for luxury.”