Nordstrom has officially – and finally – opened its flagship store, cutting the ribbon on a much-awaited big box entry into Vancouver’s downtown retail scene on Friday morning.
The store had an ‘opening day celebration’ and and ‘beauty bash’ this morning, starting at 8 a.m. at its Robson Street address. Nordstrom has already held a few opening day events before Friday, including a fashion show and gala on Wednesday night.
(Nordstrom will also be live-streaming its Vancouver opening on Friday, and video of that is available below.)
The gala featured appearances from celebrities like Camilla Belle, Zachary Quinto, and Coco Rocha – Rocha is a model for Nordstrom and a Vancouverite (raised in Richmond), and is one of the several public figures the chain has collected to promo its opening, along with radio host Nira Arora and The Interview actress Diana Bang, and others featured on Nordstrom’s website and in the video above.
Along with a typical department store’s departments and shopping categories, Nordstom’s Vancouver store also features charging stations (for phones and whatever else) and third-floor restaurant overlooking Robson Square and the Art Gallery, called Bistro Verde.
The store is Nordstrom’s third location in Canada, with one each already in Calgary and Ottawa, and three others planning to open in Toronto by 2016 and 2017.
The company has entered Canada just as the country has spit out a try from lower-cost retailer Target, and Nordstrom has taken over a space once occupied by Sears (Eaton’s). Pacific Centre is still expansive and nearby, while other once-large companies like Planet Hollywood and HMV have been swapped out for Victoria’s Secret, and Chapters/Indigo has vacated the opposite corner near Robson Square.
Call it a changing of the times or the extinction of the middle man, but Nordstrom’s is aware of the evolving retail landscape – not just in Canada or the United States, but globally.
The company has reportedly estimated it would lose “tens of millions of dollars” by marching north, with plans and hopes to turn a profit sometime soon. And even though Target’s offerings are much different than the higher-scale products at Nordstrom, the latter has taken notice of the others’ failure and opted for a more cautious expansion.
“There are huge differences (between us and Target). They opened over 100 stores at once,” said Blake Nordstrom, the company’s president, in an interview with the Globe and Mail this year.
“That’s quite a difficult feat. We opened one. We’re focused on one store at a time, six stores in total. We’re doing our best to open those properly.”
VIDEO: A Tour of Nordstrom – Pacific Centre (via YouTube)
PHOTOS: Nordstrom’s flagship store in Vancouver (via Facebook)