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International Expansion Plans for US Department Stores

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International growth plans

In the first part of this series, we discussed why leading department stores like Macy’s (M) and Nordstrom (JWN) are looking for international growth opportunities.

In the most recent fiscal year ending January 31, 2015, leading off-price retailer TJX Companies (TJX) reported net sales of $29.1 billion, surpassing Macy’s sales. TJX Companies is also way ahead of Macy’s and Nordstrom in terms of its international presence and has achieved considerable international success due to its off-price model.

As of May 2, 2015, TJX Companies had 375 stores in Canada and 449 stores in Europe. During the current fiscal year, TJX Companies plans to add 20 new stores in Canada and 50 stores in Europe.

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Macy’s international presence

Macy’s already serves international consumers through its websites macys.com and bloomingdales.com, which sell its products online in over 100 countries. Macy’s opened its first international store under its high-end Bloomingdale’s brand in Dubai in 2010.

The company is now working on opening its first international Macy’s store and the second for Bloomingdale’s in Abu Dhabi. These stores will be opened in collaboration with Al Tayer Group, which represents international brands in the Middle East such as Alexander McQueen, Boucheron, Bottega Veneta, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Emilio Pucci, Giorgio Armani, and Jimmy Choo.

Nordstrom’s Canadian growth story

Nordstrom opened its first Canadian store in Calgary’s Chinook Centre in September 2014 and its second store in Rideau Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The company will be opening another store in Pacific Centre, Vancouver, in September 2015. Two new stores in Canada are scheduled to open in Yorkdale Centre, Toronto, and Toronto Eaton Centre in fall 2016, as well as one store in Sherway Gardens, Toronto, in spring 2017. The company also plans to open ~15–20 off-price Nordstrom Rack stores in Canada starting in fall 2017.

Macy’s and Nordstrom together account for ~0.2% and 1.4% of the portfolio holdings of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) and the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY), respectively.

Despite the significant impact of currency headwinds on US companies with international operations, department stores are optimistic about the growth opportunities in international markets in the long term. However, department stores need to tread carefully to avoid the debacle that large firms like Target (TGT) and Sears Holdings (SHLD) faced recently.

For more analysis and updates, please visit our Consumer and Retail page.

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