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Nordstrom to replace Sears at the Eaton Centre

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 15, 2014

nordstrom sherway gardensThe Eaton Centre is going to get a flashy new flagship department store - one that's a little more glamorous than the current offering. U.S. department store Nordstrom had confirmed rumours it will take over the Sears' vast retail space at Yonge and Dundas, continuing its planned expansion into Canada.

Construction on the 20,000 square metre store, which will cover all three levels at the top of the mall, will begin in March and will take until Fall 2016 to complete, suggesting some major aesthetic changes are on the cards.

Sears took over the space in 1999 when Eaton's, the department store empire that built the mall, filed for bankruptcy. In October, the struggling U.S. retailer announced it was leaving downtown Toronto and Sherway Gardens in an effort to claw back $400 million in rent.

The new Nordstrom store will be the company's fifth in its foray into Canada. Stores in Calgary, Ottawa, and Vancouver are also in the pipes. Nordstrom has 261 stores in the United States, some of which operate under its "Nordstrom Racks" and "Jeffrey" brands.

The company hasn't released images of the Eaton Centre store but if plans for its Sherway Gardens and Yorkdale stores are a guide, the building could be in for significant alterations. What do you think of the announcement? Will Nordstrom be a positive boost for the Eaton Centre?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Norstrom



Jordan / January 15, 2014 at 11:39 am
Fall 2016? 2+ years seems absurdly long for a renovation.
Marc / January 15, 2014 at 11:54 am
I have a feeling they'll wall off the store and you won't be able to "walk through it" to get from Queen to Dundas. Scaling-up, gurl so no pedestrian riff-raff.
Jacob / January 15, 2014 at 11:54 am
Maybe they hired the TTC's contractors. ;)
Johnny / January 15, 2014 at 12:01 pm
@Marc, how did Sears do it when Eatons closed?
James / January 15, 2014 at 12:05 pm
This is AMAZING!

NORDSTROM offers the best retail experience, ever. 2+ years for the reno sounds normal, their San Francisco store as a 3 story spiral escalator, antique wood shelving, and marble throughout.

This will be an amazing polishing stone to the Eaton Centre.
good idea / January 15, 2014 at 12:11 pm
Anything that can be done to rid that front area of the riff raff that loiter there, the better.

This is great news.
Toni / January 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm
I didn't shop at Nordstrom when I lived in the US, I won't shop there now. Not a fan of the merch, the prices or the store layouts. That said, it's still better than Sears.
Stephano / January 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm
Disappointed. I was hoping for a Canadian retailer like Simon to move into the downtown location. We don't need another high end US retailer. C'est la vie!
Moaz Ahmad / January 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm
As I recall the Nordstorm at Sherway Gardens will not be located at the old Sears but in new construction at the south end, an expansion of the old Sporting Life (which will be moving, along with the food court, to the new construction at the north end.

Why Nordstrom wants to be at the back end of Sherway is beyond me but hey, what do I know?

Simons us moving to Square One and they will occupy the old Sears...and then there will be a Holt Renfrew occupying the old Old Navy (with new construction too).

Cheers, Moaz
Daniel / January 15, 2014 at 12:25 pm
Sears pretty much moved right into Eatons as is. No major renos.
Benedict / January 15, 2014 at 12:26 pm
Simon's would have been great. I think the space is a bit big for them.
iSkyscraper / January 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm
My comment from October 29. Alas, no one bet me that box of Timbits:


"Sears has been a square peg in a round hole ever since they took over Eaton's. You don't take one of North America's most vibrant and successful downtowns and put the very symbol of downmarket faded suburban mall shopping in the middle of it. The Eaton Centre owners therefore paid them to get out in order to re-lease to a better store. They wouldn't have paid up if it was for Target or Wal-Mart -- something high end is coming.

The department store industry has consolidated, only a few flags are left for premium downtown shopping appropriate for this kind of location. Toronto already has Lord & Taylor/Saks via HBC, plus homegrown Holt up on Bloor. Barney's is too small and along with Macy's/Bloomingdale's won't leave the US. That leaves either Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf or Nordstrom.

Nordstrom is already coming to Yorkdale and other Canadian centres, while Neiman was recently bought by the Canada Pension Plan and a partner. Hmmmn.

I'll bet anyone a box of Timbits that an announcement on one of them coming to the Eaton Centre is made within 3 months."
Rusty / January 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm
2+ years because Toronto has the laziest construction workers with 'fantastic' unions.
dvc / January 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm
This is the best news i've heard this hour!!!
Andrew / January 15, 2014 at 01:00 pm
How is anyone qualified to say whether 2+ years is a long time without seeing what the actual plans are?
W. K. Lis / January 15, 2014 at 01:14 pm
Darn, I was hoping for Harrods (London) or Shinsegae (South Korea).
Andy / January 15, 2014 at 01:22 pm
2+ years! Is Karen Stintz the project lead?
Dan / January 15, 2014 at 01:23 pm
If they're taking the top 3 levels for Nordstrom, is there not the possibility that Simons can take the lower ones? Are there only three available levels from Sears?
Chester Pape / January 15, 2014 at 01:24 pm
Sears did not just move into the Eaton's store without renos, they should have but the VP of marketing there in those days got so enamored with the chance to create a high end retailer that they pissed away millions on renovations of the stores they did eventually reopen (7 if memory serves, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg Polo Park, Yorkdale, Eatons Center, Ottawa and Montreal)

They closed all but one floor for a couple years and for a while walled off part of that. They reconfigured the escalators and cut a big atrium opening between the 2nd and ground floor.
DavidLee / January 15, 2014 at 01:26 pm
Ohh good the "JESUS SAVES!" guy and the "Wanna buy a photocopied History Guide" crowd will have a higher end clientelle to bug.

"Sticker for a handsome gentleman"
Chester Pape / January 15, 2014 at 01:31 pm
At present there are only 3 levels of the Sears store

At it's peak the Eaton's store was 9 levels but the bottom (what was called 2 below) was converted to the food court in the late 80s and over the years Eatons and then Sears converted the upper floors into office space.

When they say "top" in that article I think they meant "North end"
Stacey / January 15, 2014 at 01:32 pm
The fourth floor of Sears right now is about 1/4 retail 3/4 offices.
They may just turn that into all offices as Sears head office is still planned to stay there BUT who knows by 2016
Daniel / January 15, 2014 at 01:38 pm
Yes ChesterPape Sears did do some renos and cosmetic changes but the overall store layout is about the same.

The Eatons "E" can still be found in the store. When you get off the elevators on any floor there are round floor number signs that display the floor number with an eatons E behind it.
Tony / January 15, 2014 at 01:44 pm
What going to happen the BlueJays shop?
A / January 15, 2014 at 01:44 pm
@DavidLee: You wrote: "Sticker for a handsome gentleman"

I assume you're alluding to that woman who goes around giving people a little sticker "for being so good-looking" and in return asks for money for charity. She's been around for decades. One time years ago I asked her where the money goes. She said it's for children. I asked "which children?" and she replied "mine". That was the last time I gave her money.

PS - BlogTo: the reply function doesn't seem to be working properly
Sean Riddolls / January 15, 2014 at 01:45 pm
I agree, an upscale Canadian retailer such as Simons, would be preferable to having a giant US retailer moving into the heart of the city.
Andy / January 15, 2014 at 01:45 pm
2+ years! Is Karen Stintz the project lead?
Gayguy89 / January 15, 2014 at 02:18 pm
Sweet another retail store to walk by!
ak / January 15, 2014 at 02:54 pm
nordstrom is sick!!!
Jules / January 15, 2014 at 03:13 pm
Let's ask Neil Young what he thinks about this move, I take all of my advice, guidance and political stance from aged Rock Stars.
Cynthia / January 15, 2014 at 03:18 pm
Great news for those of us with unusually sized feet! Nordstrom has a great selection for ladies in the 5 1/2 or smaller and the larger than 10 crowd!
Alex / January 15, 2014 at 03:55 pm
No surprise about the reno, Sears is literally selling everything, including the stuff that's nailed down. If you want a cheap giant mirror, jewellery display case, sales desk, etc. then Sears has you covered. They're even selling the display kitchens, which I'm almost positive are non-functional.

If you want some high-end kitchen appliances though then get down there because they actually have some amazing deals. For everything else, meh. I never really shopped at Sears before, and even on sale their stuff just isn't worth it.
Aaron / January 15, 2014 at 04:03 pm
Two years doesn't seem so unreasonable in this case, considering that the Nordstrom renovations of the Vancouver Sears involved stripping off all cladding and demolishing the entire interior fit-out including, it looks like, the mechanical systems. It's stripped right down right down to the concrete substructure and they are literally driving bobcats around inside the building - it's pretty much a complete re-do.
Easily 2 years / January 15, 2014 at 05:16 pm
2 years is fine.

Has no one ever been inside that Sears?

Its a god damn cess pool.

Hell, take 3 years to make it over if need be.
Dgaj / January 15, 2014 at 06:22 pm
Odd that they say they will replace sears. Sears holds 800 000 square feet and in their press release they claim to only be constructing 130 000 square feet. Enlarging the mall? Or constructing elsewhere. In the official release by Cadillac Fairview their is no mention of them replacing Sears. It simply states they will constructing 130 000 square foot store. Maybe Saks fith Ave will take the rest?
Drab Begone / January 15, 2014 at 06:47 pm
Good riddance to Sears,the place smacked of a Five & Dime Store without the charm or service.Seemed like a Bargain Harolds for the last 7 years and the drabbest, dingiest lighting ever. Staff looked miserable. Incredible to think a major city shoved that into it's downtown core, previously occupied by something truly Canadian with a good name that had the chance to revamp it's brand into something truly iconic- but noooo, it was easier to throw Eaton's out with the bathwater and just haul up yet another American retailer. Sure it's 100% better than Sears, but yet again shouldn't a flagship jewel in the crown in the heart of a city retail centre be representing the best that the country has to offer ? You mean Canadian Tire is already there? Just sayin...
Ryerson / January 15, 2014 at 08:26 pm
Ahhh yeah cant wait to blow my OSAP there!
Rob / January 15, 2014 at 09:40 pm
Shinsegae is pretty mediocre. Isetan, Daimaru, Sogo, or possibly Takashimaya would be much better.
Steven / January 15, 2014 at 10:58 pm
I'd much prefer shopping at Canadian-owned businesses, big & small.
Todd / January 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm
Might be mediocre or much better to show your cool but not gonna happen its NORDSTROM that's moving in. Let's stay in reality champ...
Stan / January 15, 2014 at 11:07 pm
There aren't any Canadian retailers big enough to take that spot. Either way let Nordstrom move in and fail just like Target is failing. They think its an untapped market north of the border but that's not the case for anything from the USA. Remember the hype over Krispy Creme doughnuts? Where are they now? Remember the hype over Target? Where are they now?
Donnie / January 15, 2014 at 11:13 pm
Wow just watched the National on CBC and Sears just announced another 1600 job cuts mainly in warehouse and call center jobs.
Donnie / January 15, 2014 at 11:17 pm
Sears Canada to cut 1,600 call centre, warehouse jobs
Donnie / January 15, 2014 at 11:18 pm
Sears Canada to cut 1,600 call centre, warehouse jobs
Rob / January 16, 2014 at 01:20 am

The reply doesn't seem to be working. Control+f to see the comment I was replying to.

So, ya...
Carlyle / January 16, 2014 at 02:42 am
In my opinion Simon is not nearly in the same upscale league as either Nordstrum or the downtown Bay. It's nice enough, but pretty basic stuff. I'd say it compares to the Bay of 10 years ago before all the upgrades.
How long are people thinking a complete overhaul of a huge department store should take? A couple of weeks? Perhaps Canadians are used to thinking that a "renovation" means a new coat of paint that can be slapped on overnight. When a company does it the right way they have no way of grasping the amount of work involved and resort to ridiculing it. Anything that is not instant and done quickly seems strange to them.
Todd / January 16, 2014 at 04:39 am
Yo ROB Blogto REPLIES aren't visable or an option on mobile or tablet. Desktop only. Can't see whom you were replying to, you could've just told me....
Julia / January 16, 2014 at 09:06 am
OMG this is fabulous news for Yonge and Dundas. I love it and can't wait. The Sears store is a hot mess.
Chris / January 16, 2014 at 10:19 am
I'll still prefer to shop at the Bay and Holt Renfrew, support your Canadian businesses to make sure they keep holding their own against the big US retailers
More2Come / January 16, 2014 at 05:50 pm
Sears Canada is ready to sell its 27 Quebec store leases
Tanya / January 16, 2014 at 06:33 pm
The Eaton Centre and Dundas Square soooo need this. We deserve this, now if only they could fix the parking situation around the mall those with big $$$ and big cars would actually have a reason to visit the mall.
Moms / January 16, 2014 at 06:36 pm
Sears will fold by 2016 thats most likely why they intend to keep thier head office above the store while the renos are happening.
nippleholic / January 16, 2014 at 07:07 pm
More info on the sticker woman:
Tara / January 16, 2014 at 09:29 pm
If Sears Canada closes can I forfeit paying my Sears Card? If they can't hold up their end of the agreement, do I have to?
Hugh / January 16, 2014 at 09:39 pm
An Fab! Brill!
Davie / January 16, 2014 at 10:32 pm
Boo Yah!!!! So sick! This is gonna be awesome
Ross / January 17, 2014 at 12:38 am
Ahhh Bunny Ranch is an ideal.I could see it up Yonge Sf.
Is a good idea for Yonge and Gerrard Area.
Great Hall / January 18, 2014 at 09:51 am
Dollarama would be better suited there!
Zi / January 18, 2014 at 01:56 pm
I haven't shopped in Sears in ages because their home services are awful. Need your house painted? Their contractors will do a lousy job and yell at you when you complain. Use them for heating maintenance? The contractor will make appointments, cancel, re-set appointments, cancel and then claim it was us who did that and the furnace misses a maintenance visit. Pay your annual maintenance bill and months later get some angry letters demanding payment, so I call and get stuck in the Phone Tree From Hell. No one has a clue how to access my account. No one can figure out why my account is in arrears but the record shows my payment. Several transfers later, with at least one person getting angry with me because he doesn't handle these types of calls, I finally get someone who says I need the bank to forward paperwork proving I paid the bill on time.

So, do I deal with Sears? Nope. If the management can't get a handle on business then I'm not paying for bad and non-existent service or products.

Bring on the next business! It's up to them to prove they can provide goods and devices for their customers. Do that, and people will shop there.
J / January 18, 2014 at 08:01 pm
It'd be awesome if they could do this in stages - maybe open it one floor at a time? It'll be a big loss to have dundas square closed off from the rest of the mall for so long.
D / January 19, 2014 at 11:48 am
Too mainstream. No beards going to shop there.
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