There have been rumours about Nordstrom expanding to Canada for several years (June 2010 story here, March 2011 story here and November 2011 story here) but this time I’ve heard it from two places- both different Holt Renfrew employees who are telling their clients about the “new” Nordstrom store opening up on Vancouver’s famous shopping street, Robson Street, where the old HMV store used to be after it closed down.
I, for one, am thrilled about this news. I’m a huge Nordstrom fan (am a VIP cardholder) and they often have sales and merchandise that Canada’s only premium Department store, Holt Renfrew, just can’t match. Holt Renfrew is a great store and I love their fuchsia boxes, but they are a bit antiquated in two areas: their store rewards program tied to American Express, which is a big thing in my opinion to woo the very fickle higher-end brand shopper and their online shopping features.
Holt Renfrew has a rewards card that is tied to American Express. The Holts Card does have reward points, giving you the opportunity to cash in on points earned for gift certificates. You can earn 1.4 points for every dollar spent at Holts itself and 1 point per dollar for everywhere else. In short, you’d have to spend $3,571 at Holt Renfrew before you would be eligible for a $50 gift card. Sure, not terrible- and in all honesty, better dollar for dollar if you exclude bonus points days at Nordstrom. I don’t like a few things though: One, you have to pay for alterations and two, it’s an American Express card (Have had nothing but terrible experiences dealing with Amex in the past)
Nordstrom on the other hand has their own card with what they call “Fashion Rewards”. With this card, you get $20 in gift cards on the very first day you spend $100 on your new card. Yay! I love welcomes! Then you get 2 points/dollar for every dollar spent at Nordstrom and can redeem 2,000 points for $20 notes. This means to get $50 in free money, you’d have to spend about $5,000 at Nordstrom (although that’s not including your first free $20, triple points days which happen relatively regularly or other bonus points days). But the real allure of this is that you get free tailoring (Mr. Roccapuccia buys suits and this can be upwards of $100!), there are membership levels which get you different amount of points earned and perks and free online shipping, which leads me to my second point…
Holt Renfrew has no online shopping. Zip, nada.
Nordstrom now ships free to Canada! Sure, our prices are a bit higher (Thank you Canadian Government for high importing fees) and we have to pay duty (Thanks again Canadian Government for this! Big kisses!) but when you find a sale and the dollar is doing well… You can still find some pretty amazing deals. There’s a huge selection online and there are all kinds of cool features.
So I’m pretty excited that the store may be coming soon to Vancouver, which is logicial seeing as the legendary chain started in Seattle, a mere couple of hours away. Looking forward to the formal announcement!