Nordstrom Canada’s highly anticipated liquidation sales have begun, but Canadians are unimpressed with deals currently offered by the retailer.
In Toronto and Vancouver, shoppers encountered minuscule 5% discounts on clothing, bags, and shoes.
Lisa Hutcheson, retail consultant at J.C. Williams Group, visited the sale at Nordstrom’s Toronto Eaton Centre location (which is conveniently near their office) on Tuesday. She found that it was busy, with people doing a lot of window shopping, but not a lot of buying.
“I think they were all expecting more, and then seeing the 5%, and moving on,” she told Daily Hive over the phone.
It was the same vibe in Vancouver, where customers milled around the Pacific Centre location, but most didn’t seem too keen on making a purchase.
“Five per cent discounts are insulting to shoppers, but not surprised they are starting low,” David Ian Gray, retail strategist with Dig360 told Daily Hive over email.
He says that it’s important to note that Nordstrom is no longer making pricing decisions.
“This is in the hands of the Canadian liquidators, who are not in the business of good customer experience,” explained Gray. “It’s not their job.”
The liquidation sale, led by Hilco Merchant Retail Solutions ULC and Gordon Brothers Canada, is expected to be completed by late June.
A Nordstrom spokesperson did clarify with Daily Hive that the maximum discount its currently offering is one-fifth off the base price.
“Customers can shop up to 20% off beginning today, March 21. We do not have details about any further discount at this time.”
But it seems like not many shoppers aren’t seeing this higher markdown.
Liquidation sale @Nordstrom is 5% off right now. What a joke.
— Lindsay Harris 🇨🇦 (@lindsayGlowbaby) March 21, 2023
On top of the small start, shoppers hoping to get deals on Chanel bags or Gucci belts are probably out of luck.
Hutcheson says products from those luxury brands have most likely been shipped off to their standalone stores in the US.
“When I see the amount of merchandise that’s here now, I don’t think [Nordstrom] is going to go super deep with sales in the coming days,” she said.
So, what do customers really have to look forward to then?
Gray says it would be reasonable for liquidators to begin by keeping items as close to full value as possible.
He adds that discounts on popular brands, styles, and sizes will go first.
Since luxury brand items have most likely been taken back, that’ll leave shoppers to choose from Nordstrom’s private labels and other brands that aren’t contracted to retain ownership of unsold items.
And when we get past this liquidation, shoppers can also look forward to what could be replacing the gaping hole in malls left by Nordstrom.
Hutcheson attributes the downfall of the Seattle-based company to the unnecessary amount of store locations, the effects of a pandemic that shut down in-person shopping and decimated fashion retailers, and not knowing the Canadian customer’s needs.
“The spotlight will now be firmly on US performance in the next year or two and I expect to see store closures there,” added Gray.
Hutcheson says the exit of Nordstrom will force shopping centres to diversify what they choose to fill these spaces with.
“Having it not just retail focussed, but having some tourism and some entertainment sprinkled amongst the mix to make it a little bit more diverse of a property,” she said.
The retail consultant gives the example of a German outdoor retailer called Globetrotter, which has a pool and a rock climbing space available for customers to use.
“Customers drive two to four hours and they spend two hours when they come to the store, so it’s a very immersive experience,” she said. “So it’s really seeing things like that in terms of trying to create more destination-type shopping.”
Before you head out to check out the sale, make sure you’re up to date on information regarding Nordstrom gift cards, returns, and the Nordy Club Canada Program.
With files from Megan Devlin.