Simons sets its sights beyond Québec

It may have taken more than 170 years for Simons to expand beyond Québec, but ever since opening in the West Edmonton Mall back in 2012, the retailer has been on a roll.

Driving the news: Simons, one of Canada’s oldest department storesis spending $75 million to open two stores in Toronto this fall, taking over shuttered Nordstrom locations a little over a year after its CEO said there was no “path to profitability” in Canada. 

Why it matters: Simons isn’t just betting on a resurgence in brick-and-mortar, but whether it can reverse the bad luck that has hit Canadian department stores in recent years: Sears left Canada in 2018, and Holt Renfrew and Hudson’s Bay have both closed down several stores.  

Bottom line: Of the company’s 17 locations, just seven are outside of Québec (nine including the new Toronto stores). Simons still faces the challenge of winning the hearts of Canadians across the country, but there are enough people rooting for it that it might have a shot.—SB