CALGARY – It’s just three weeks until American retailer Nordstrom opens their first store in Canada, but there’s still lots of work to be done.
Shelves in the 140,000 square foot retail space at Chinook Centre remain bare, as hundreds of newly hired employees work to assemble racks and get familiar with the high-end merchandise they’ll soon be selling.
Officials with the upscale fashion merchant offered media a sneak peek inside their soon-to-open Calgary location on Thursday, touring through the two floors previously occupied by Sears.
Over 500 people were hired to work at the Chinook Centre location, and hundreds were gathered in the store on Thursday for training in various departments.
Calgary’s Nordstrom location opens at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, September 19th, although representatives say there will be no actual ‘ribbon cutting’ due to superstition.
Spokesperson John Bailey explains that they know they have a long road ahead, and they don’t want to jinx their potential success.
Nordstrom could be exercising caution during their Canadian expansion due to the struggles American retailer Target has seen during their move up north. Target suffered a lukewarm opening, and has been victim of critical online reviews and complaints since it opened.
In fact, Target’s chief financial officer John Mulligan recently admitted the retailer “bit off way too much, too early,” and should have opened fewer stores in their first year.
During the tour on Thursday, media were assured that officials with Nordstrom hope to get prompt feedback from customers as soon as they open, and know the store won’t be perfect until they do.
INSIDE CANADA’S FIRST NORDSTROM
The store features new design concepts, different than that at other locations. For example, the Calgary location will offer a single-surface floor with no carpet, so that departments can grow and move depending on the feedback from customers.
Officials have also made an attempt to incorporate natural light throughout the southwest location.
Nordstrom at Chinook Centre will feature eight personal stylists whose services are complimentary and don’t require a minimum purchase, as well as beauty stylists in the cosmetics area.
The store will also offer certified bra fitters and shoe fitters to help people find the perfect fit.
Patrons who are hungry or thirsty can stop for a bite to eat at Bazille, the store’s full-service (and licensed) restaurant on the second floor, or grab a coffee and sandwich at Ebar.
GALLERY: Calgary’s Nordstrom location at Chinook Centre