Saks Will Expand To Asia And Europe, Says Hudson's Bay Exec

Saks will be expanding beyond the U.S. and Canada once Hudson's Bay completes its $2.9 billion takeover of the luxury apparel chain, a Hudson's Bay executive said on Monday (Sept. 23).

Vice-chairwoman Bonnie Brooks said the first priority for the chain will be to open seven Saks stores in Canada, followed by global expansion. The Canadian store openings should come within the next two years, and will be positioned tactically. For example, Brooks said one of the Saks Fifth Avenue stores will be located in Quebec, where fashion-forward shoppers are more familiar with the Sax brand than with Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), which also plans to open Canadian stores starting next year.

Hudson's Bay will also open about 20 Canadian Saks Off Fifth outlet stores, Brooks said.

She didn't expand on the Asia and Europe plans, but under the circumstances that's not surprising: Hudson's Bay doesn't even own the Saks chain yet, and hasn't laid out how it will coexist with Lord & Taylor, which Hudson's Bay also owns. The company, which also owns Canada's largest department-store chain, also needs to pick its plays carefully in the face of a steady stream of store openings by U.S. retailers.

So far, those haven't had a big impact, but Brooks clearly isn't dismissing them. Along with the plans to block Nordstrom with a Quebec store, on Monday she characterized Target's (NYSE:TGT) disappointing sales start in Canada as "growing pains," and said the rival chain is already in the process of addressing market differences between Canada and the United States.

For more:

- See this Globe and Mail story

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