Nordstrom Departure And Zellers Return: A Reflection Of The Current State Of Shopping Habits And Affordability

By Michyla Tross

Nordstrom is closing its doors, which means liquidation deals are in effect. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Nordstrom made shockwaves across the shopping industry when they announced the closure of all 13 stores in Canada. As a result, 2,500 jobs were lost in the process. 

Nordstrom is an American department store that is known for selling luxury branded clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products. They launched their Canadian locations back in 2014 with six stores and seven Nordstrom Rack locations.

Chief executive Erik Nordstorm said the closures were a result of internal reviews that challenged its long term plans to build a sustainable business in Canada. He says that winding down the Canadian operations will further increase the focus on driving long-term profitable growth in the core U.S business. 

Nordstrom is far from the first US-based store to fail in Canada. Target, Sears, and J.Crew all came in with big ambitions and failed in the Canadian market.

What went wrong with Nordstrom?

Nordstrom’s brand was based on selling the luxurious experience to the middle class at a more affordable price, but how affordable is it actually?

Look no further than the most recent news around the return of Zellers, a classic Canadian discount store chain that originally closed down in 2013.  

While they do not sell the same items, the Zellers return is currently run in conjunction with Hudson's Bay, a competitor with Nordstrom.

Hudson’s Bay, a department store that also had a history of struggles with the Canadian market, made a bold move to reintroduce Zellers as a store-within-a-store. The goal seemingly is to earn back the Canadian customers by showing that they recognize the current economic climate and they wanted to bring back a store that was known for providing affordable options of the everyday needs, from clothing to household items. 

These corporate decisions are made to reflect the current shopping patterns in society. With rising inflation, more people find it unaffordable to make non-essential purchases. People are barely getting by; they do not need to pay for over-priced clothes. This is especially true for racialized communities, who are most impacted by the current cost of living. 

People are struggling right now, and with the slogan,"Where the lowest price is the law," that is exactly what people need.

Related Articles