Toronto is one of the best cities I have ever visited in my whole life. It is a fight between TO and SFO (San Francisco) as my absolute favorite big city. As a result everyone clamors to be there. That is a reason why the major Nordstrom’s chain is looking to establish at least two stores in the Toronto as a replacement for Sears.
Last December a friend of mine had a phone conversation with a Nordstrom official in property development. She inquired as to whether Nordstrom would be interested in entering the Buffalo, NY market. I can visualize the smirk on his and the demeaning tone of his voice sitting there in Seattle on his telephone.
He apparently said Nordstrom is not interested in place like Buffalo. He said they wanted a community with a population of over a million, was stable and they believed that Nordstrom’s would keep Canadian shoppers in Canada. He also said, he can fly non-stop to Toronto from Seattle.
So, that was his informed take.
Well, that was December and today along comes a pretty interesting article in the Buffalo News. which reported:
In 2011, 3.1 million Canadians crossed into the Buffalo Niagara region – broken down into 1.9 million day trips and 1.2 million overnight stays.
The average visitor spent $368 on each overnight trip, and $266 on each day trip.
The most popular shopping destinations were Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls, Walden Galleria, Boulevard Mall, Eastern Hills Mall and downtown Buffalo/Elmwood Village.
A pair of Nike Shox shoes at the Niagara Falls outlet store can be had for about $70 - The same shoes will cost about $200 in Canada.
At Victoria’s Secret – Two pairs of track pants and a shirt cost about $80 – the same purchase in Canada would have been about $180.
As of June 1, Canadians who stay in the United States for more than 24 hours can bring $200 in merchandise back across the border, duty free. That’s up from the previous $50 limit. Those staying more than 48 hours can bring back $800 in merchandise without paying additional taxes.
The growth of Canadian spending has been a boon to the region – accounting for $933 million in 2011.
So, with those stats in mind, I’ll say good luck to Nordstrom, you may have missed an opportunity last December.