Although U.S. retailers and developers have targeted Canada for years, the race to expand up North has accelerated in recent months with a growing number of firms forming joint ventures, completing targeted acquisitions and exploring other avenues in attempts to quickly build footholds.
Discounter Big Lots became the latest firm to announce a push into Canada in late May, when the chain agreed to acquire Canadian retailer Liquidation World and its 92 stores. Big Lots joins Target, Marshalls, The Limited and J.Crew on the list of chains who’ve recently announced a commitment to Canada. A number of other well-known U.S. brands—from Kohl’s to Nordstrom to J.C. Penney to Dick’s Sporting Goods—have been scouring potential sites and might soon follow suit, according to local brokers.
“We are taking a look at opportunities to open stores in Canada,” says Colin Johnson, a spokesman for Nordstrom. “We realize it’s a very different market from the U.S., but we are also exploring what might be feasible. I don’t know if or when [anything is going to happen with that]. We are going to look for the best available opportunities—it remains to be seen what those are.”