TORONTO -- High-end U.S. retailer Nordstrom is moving north of the border starting in fall 2014 with the opening of its first four Canadian stores in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver.
The expansion, Nordstrom's first beyond U.S. borders, will create 1,000 new jobs and could see five more Canadian locations added in the years to come, the company said Thursday.
"We're just really excited for the opportunity to get our doors open here and prove ourselves," company president and CEO Blake Nordstrom said during an announcement in Toronto. "This is a significant milestone for us as a company."
The upscale department store joins a growing list of foreign chains that have recently announced they will vie for coveted Canadian consumer dollars.
The Seattle-based retailer will move into renovated space vacated by Sears Canada at the Pacific Centre in Vancouver, Chinook Centre in Calgary and the Rideau Centre in Ottawa. A new store will be built at Toronto's Sherway Gardens.
The tentative timeline for the Nordstrom stores opening is fall 2014 in Calgary, spring 2015 in Ottawa and Vancouver and fall 2016 in Toronto.
Vancouver will get the largest Nordstrom store, with three levels and 230,000 square feet planned.
The Ottawa store will be two levels and about 157,000 square feet, the Calgary store two levels with about 140,000 square feet, and the Toronto store will have two levels with about 138,000 square feet.
The openings will result in 1,000 new jobs, said Karen McKibbin, Nordstrom Canada's newly installed president.
In March, Sears announced it would sell back leases for three of its stores to Cadillac Fairview, its landlord, for about $170 million as it works to revamp its struggling Canadian operations.
Nordstrom says it's only fitting the chain is coming to Canada. One of its co-founders, John W. Nordstrom, immigrated to the Yukon from Sweden during the Klondike gold rush in the late 1890s. After working as a lumberjack and miner, he took a risk and started panning for gold in the northern Canadian territory.
Two years later, he saved $13,000 and used that capital to open the first Nordstrom shoe store in Seattle in 1901.
-- The Canadian Press