The lost cause
There’s been a lot of ink spilled in recent days about the closing of the thirteen Nordstrom stores in Canada. I feel badly for the 2,500 employees who will lose their jobs and the mall owners that have to fill the empty spaces. As a loyal Nordstrom shopper who has bought goods in U.S.-based Nordstrom stores over the years while visiting in New York, Florida, and California, no one was happier than I was when Nordstrom first arrived in Canada in 2014.
I was well served with outlets. There was a Nordstrom in the Eaton Centre, a short subway ride away, and a Nordstrom Rack at Yonge and Bloor, a five-minute walk from where I live. But neither of them was a real Nordstrom, like I was used to. For the greater part of its existence, the menswear department at the Eaton Centre did not even carry the popular shirt I regularly bought in the U.S. Nordstrom, the Smartcare button-down. As for Nordstrom Rack, which carries good quality items in the U.S., the Toronto store did not even come close. I went there once; the stuff was universally junk. The socks felt like the cheapest from China. And staff? They were non-existent.
Separate from the off-price Nordstrom Rack, the quality of some Nordstrom items was also poor compared with other vendors in Canada. During the last year I happened to buy three pairs of pyjamas, one pair at Harry Rosen, another at Dapper Depot Menswear in Orillia (I get around!) and the third at Nordstrom. The first two stores provided good quality. The pyjamas from Nordstrom shrank in the wash.
The departure of Nordstrom has also been linked with the brief, unhappy stay in Canada of Target. I’ve read that both Nordstrom and Target were too upscale for price-conscious Canadian consumers. Such a claim is nonsense on stilts. I used to shop at Target in Cloverdale Mall in Toronto’s west end. I’d go with a list of household, paper and other products. Half the items I wanted would often be out of stock. So don’t give me any guff about how hard both Nordstrom or Target tried. We got only a half-hearted effort. Bye bye, Nordstrom, I wish it were otherwise, but I won’t miss you.