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Nordstrom announced it is pulling out of Canada, closing 13 stores and putting 2,500 staff out of work.FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

In a display that’s become increasingly familiar to Canadians, Nordstrom Inc. JWN-N is the latest American retailer to exit the country’s market. The luxury chain announced Thursday that it’s closing 13 department locations – six Nordstrom stores and seven Nordstrom Rack stores – and laying off 2,500 employees.

“We entered Canada in 2014 with a plan to build and sustain a long-term business there. Despite our best efforts, we do not see a realistic path to profitability for the Canadian business,” said chief executive officer Erik Nordstrom in a press release.

It’s the second major U.S. retail chain to wind down Canadian operations in a matter of weeks, after Bed Bath & Beyond announced in February it would close all of its 65 stores and 11 of its buybuy BABY stores.

The latest development with Nordstrom brings up a recurring question about why U.S. businesses seem to struggle north of the border. While many factors, and timing, are continually at play, a common thread seems to be the combination of high prices, intense competition between big-box stores and the chains not living up to Canadian consumers’ expectations once they arrive here.

Here’s a list of other American retail chains that have shut their doors in Canada for good.


A Target employee stocks shelves in Guelph, Ont. in 2013.© Geoff Robins / Reuters/X02052

Discount retailer Target Corp. shuttered 133 stores in 2015, laying off 17,000 employees and taking a US$5.4-billion loss. In 2013, Target moved into Canada by acquiring leases from Hudson’s Bay unit Zellers, which closed down. Hudson’s Bay is now bringing back the Zellers brand.

Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond started proceedings in February to shut down its stores in Canada, two days after the company raised about $1-billion in a last-ditch effort to stave off U.S. bankruptcy. The Canadian division is insolvent, according to court documents, and will close 54 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and 11 buybuy BABY stores. The court filing also said the U.S. parent company could no longer provide financial and operational support to its Canadian arm.


In November, Lowe’s Cos. Inc. sold its Canadian operations, including the Rona chain, to a private equity fund manager for US$400-million. In 2016, the company spent US$2.4-billion to acquire Rona. Lowe’s has faced stiff competition from Home Depot Inc. and St. Jacobs, Ont.-based Home Hardware Stores Ltd.

J. Crew

American department store chain J. Crew filed for bankruptcy protection in May, 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company entered the Canadian market in 2011, but shortly ran into troubles. In 2017, J. Crew reported it was more than $2-billion in debt. By 2019, the company started to close stores across Canada – including locations in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and outlets in Vancouver and Toronto. The final store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall closed in February, 2021, 10 years after J. Crew first started operations in Canada.


Sears Canada announced in June, 2017 that it would begin closing 59 stores and laying off about 2,900 employees after filing for creditor protection. The department store chain had been in business in Canada since 1953. The remaining Canadian stores closed their doors in January, 2018.


A Kmart at 605 Rogers Rd., Toronto in 1995.Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail

Kmart expanded into Canada shortly after the discount department store chain launched in the U.S. in 1962. In 1998, Hudson’s Bay bought Kmart’s 112 Canadians stores, and either closed them or converted them into Zellers locations. In turn, those Zellers locations were mostly closed down by 2013, only to be resurrected as Target locations.

Sam’s Club

WalMart Canada opened six locations of Costco-competitor Sam’s Club in southern Ontario – with stores in Toronto, Pickering, Vaughan, Richmond Hill, London and Cambridge – between 2003 and 2009. In February, 2009, the U.S. retailer announced that it would close all six locations to make way for its focus on WalMart supercentres.


In 2011, American clothing retailer Express entered the Canadian market. The company announced in 2017 that it would discontinue Canadian operations by closing its 17 stores in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. At the time, the company’s CEO, David Kornberg, said in a statement that the challenging Canadian retail environment and unfavourable exchange rates prevented the company from meeting its expectations.

With reports from Andrew Willis, Jason Kirby and The Canadian Press.