Buying in to Nordstrom: Retailer says move to Ottawa has been 'really positive'

OBJ Staff
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Seattle-based Nordstrom’s expansion into the Ottawa market last April was one of most anticipated retail debuts in the capital in years, earning retail deal of the year honours at the 2015 Best Ottawa Business Awards.

John Banks is the manager of the Nordstrom at the Rideau Centre.

Store manager John Banks recently took some time to offer his thoughts on Nordstrom’s first nine months of operation in Ottawa.

OBJ: First of all, what are your overall impressions of business so far? Have sales been what you’ve expected?

JB: “The customers’ feedback to our Rideau Centre store has been really positive. We’ve enjoyed meeting customers and developing relationships with them. We’re still new to Ottawa and our success depends on giving great service. We have to work hard each day and every transaction is an opportunity to earn their business.”

OBJ: Has the store had to make any adjustments to product lines, merchandise or service offerings in response to particular needs or requests in the Ottawa market? If so, what are they?

JB: “We’re always listening and learning from our customers and appreciate their feedback about how Nordstrom can serve them best. Overall, customers have been responding really well to women’s apparel, handbags, cosmetics, our food offerings and our Nordstrom exclusive brands. One thing we heard is that we had some opportunities to increase the speed of transactions where we ship merchandise to customers and are focused to make it more convenient for them. We hope that customers here in Ottawa will continue to let us know what we can improve upon so we can make changes in real time.”

OBJ: Any particular brands that are selling especially well? Are there any particular demographics the store is especially popular with?

JB: “Some of the brands that have been popular with our customers include Burberry, Ted Baker London, Kate Spade New York and Hugo Boss.”

OBJ: Has the company noticed any significant differences in consumer buying trends, spending habits, et cetera, between Canada and the U.S.?

JB: “We’ve found that customers, no matter where they live, appreciate compelling fashion and great service. We’re working hard to deliver both to our Canadian customers.”

OBJ: What will the new expansion to the Rideau Centre in 2016 mean for Nordstrom? Do you expect it will have an impact on customer traffic?

JB: “We’re excited for all the new additions to Rideau Centre. We hope that the new stores will help bring even more customers to the centre. We like competition because it means that we have to work harder at earning our customers’ business. It raises the bar for everyone.”

OBJ: Was Ottawa on Nordstrom’s radar for a while before you opened the Rideau Centre store?

JB: “We want to be part of the best retail locations, and Rideau Centre is the premier shopping destination in Ottawa. We’re pleased that the opportunity became available so that we could serve Canadian customers closer to home.”

OBJ: What about the city made it a good opportunity? And why the Rideau Centre in particular?

JB: “Ottawa is a wonderfully diverse, exciting city as well as our nation’s capital. It’s rich in culture and we have certainly enjoyed getting to know customers here. Rideau Centre is one of the top retail locations in Canada.”

Organizations: Rideau Centre, Burberry, Hugo Boss

Geographic location: Ottawa, Canada, Kate Spade New York U.S.

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