Another One Bites the Dust: Big-Name Retail Closures in Canada Prove Importance of Continued Innovation

March, 2023

Accelerated and exacerbated by COVID, it’s been a horrendous few years for retailers in Canada, with a slew of US-originated brand exits including high-profile names like Sears, Target, J Crew, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Nordstrom is the latest in the US to Canada failures, which reported losses every year of operation in Canada, and as such “do not see a realistic path to profitability for the Canadian business.”

But despite this, retail is still a growing market — eMarketer forecasts +5% growth by the end of 2023 (vs 2022). So the question is, why are these US-originated businesses failing?

It’s crucial to look state of the Canadian economy — interest rates are currently at 4.5%, marking an eighth successive rate hike in the past twelve months. And recent research from Numerator tells us that 70% of Canadian consumers feel discomfort about indulging in high-end products. However, the “luxury goods” market is also expected to grow by the end of 2023 to $8.72 Billion, up from $7.98 in 2022 (Statista, Feb 2023).

To reach this audience, innovation needs to be high up on Canada’s agenda. Nordstrom wasn’t agile or proactive enough to adapt to a post-COVID world, which should have meant shuttering stores faster, investing more in omnichannel experiences, and appealing to younger audiences to ensure they had customers fit for now and in the future.

Click ‘Download PDF’ below to read the full POV from Simon Ross, Horizon Canada’s VP of Strategy & Insights.

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