The liquidation sales at Nordstrom stores across Canada will begin Tuesday.
Kelowna appears to be bucking the provincial trend when it comes to the unemployment rate.
According to StatsCan’s latest labour force survey, the unemployment rate in the Kelowna area dropped to 4.6% in January, down from 4.8% in December. Meanwhile, in B.C., the unemployment rate was up slightly to 4.4% from 4.2% in December.
In the Kelowna area, the number of employed jumped 1.4% from December and by 3.5% compared to January 2022. It now stands at 109,800 workers.
Nationally last month, the Canadian economy added 150,000 jobs, holding the national unemployment rate steady at 5%, just shy of the record-low 4.9% observed in June and July 2022.
According to the Statistics Canada’s survey, the 0.08% increase marked the continued upward trend in total employment in the country that began in September 2022.
The survey showed the employment gains were driven primarily by people 25 to 54, evenly split between men and women. People in that category accounted for two-thirds of the job increases. The majority of the other third were workers aged 55 and older. Employment among younger workers, aged 15 to 24 was little changed.
The national job gains last month were noted in several industries, led by wholesale and retail trade (59,000 new jobs), health care and social assistance (40,000) and educational services (18,000). At the same time, employment declined in January in transportation and warehousing (17,000 fewer jobs).
Employment in both the public and private sectors increased and the number of self-employed in Canada was little changed.
The survey also showed average hourly wages across the country rose 4.5% last month compared to a year ago in January 2022, up $1.42 per hour to $33.01.
Similar to Canada, employment in the U.S. grew strongly in January, with total non-farm payroll employment increasing by 517,000 jobs (+0.3%). At the same time, the U.S. unemployment rate was 3.4% in January, the lowest in more than 50 years.
In comparison, employment in Canada—using labour force survey data adjusted to US concepts—increased by 141,000 jobs (+0.7%) in January. The Canadian unemployment rate, adjusted to U.S. concepts, was unchanged at 4.0%.
Nordstrom is expected to begin liquidating its stores across Canada today.
The start of the department store chain’s closing sale comes a day after the U.S. retailer’s Canadian branch got permission from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to start selling off merchandise.
Nordstrom’s liquidation efforts are being led by Hilco Merchant Retail Solutions ULC and Gordon Brothers Canada and are expected to be complete by late June.
Furniture, fixtures and equipment will be liquidated alongside most of Nordstrom’s merchandise, but goods from third parties aren’t part of the sale because they were removed from stores over the weekend.
Nordstrom required court approval to liquidate because it is winding down its Canadian operations under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, which helps insolvent businesses restructure or end operations in an orderly fashion.
As part of the wind down, Nordstrom will close its six Canadian department store locations and seven Nordstrom Rack shops, which sell designer goods at discount prices.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2023.
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Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a second day of meetings Tuesday in Moscow. The two leaders are working to increase ties between their two countries in the face of economic, diplomatic and military opposition from the west, led by the United States. Xi invited Putin to visit China some time this year, while the two are expected to sign a series of pacts and discuss cooperation over Russia’s war in Ukraine. Follow live war updates.
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The upscale department store chain has a store at the Rideau Centre mall as well as a Nordstrom Rack location at the Ottawa Train Yards shopping centre
The liquidation sales at Nordstrom stores across Canada will begin Tuesday.
A spokesperson for Nordstrom confirmed the impending sales period Monday in an email to The Canadian Press, just after the Ontario Superior Court of Justice gave the U.S. retailer’s Canadian branch permission to start selling off its merchandise.
The upscale department store chain that primarily sells designer apparel, shoes and accessories has six Canadian stores and seven discount Nordstrom Rack locations, including its Rideau Centre location and a Nordstrom Rack at the Ottawa Train Yards shopping centre, which sells merchandise at discounted prices.
When Nordstrom announced the move in early March, it said it expected the Canadian stores to close by late June and 2,500 workers to lose their jobs.
The company initiated the exit from the market because chief executive Erik Nordstrom said, “despite our best efforts, we do not see a realistic path to profitability for the Canadian business.”
Nordstrom opened its first Canadian store in Calgary in 2014, followed by the Ottawa store at the Rideau Centre, which occupied the second and third levels of a former Sears location.
The Rideau Centre store has an alterations and tailoring shop and an energy drinks bar. Merchandise ranges from brand name to designer apparel, housewares, furnishings and beauty products, including brands such as Geox shoes, Gucci, Adidas and Adidas by Stella McCartney.
Later on came Nordstrom Rack, which made its Canadian debut in 2018 at Vaughan Mills, a mall north of Toronto. At the time, Nordstrom said as many as 15 more Rack locations could follow.
Nordstrom promised each Rack store would deliver savings of up to 70 per cent on apparel, accessories, home, beauty and travel items from 38 of the top 50 brands sold in its Canadian department stores.
Nordstrom had trouble with profitability because of its selection of products and the COVID-19 pandemic, said Tamara Szames, executive director and industry adviser of Canadian retail at the NPD Group research firm, a day after Nordstrom announced its exit.
“You would hear a lot of Canadian saying that the assortment wasn’t the same in Canada that it was in the U.S.,” she said.
She noticed Nordstrom started to shift its product mix away from some luxury brands around 2018 and saw it as a sign that the retailer was struggling to maintain its original vision and integrity.
The pandemic made matters worse because many stores were forced to temporarily close their doors to quell the virus and shoppers were less likely to need some of the items Nordstrom sells like dressy apparel because events had been cancelled.
Despite stores reopening and many sectors rebounding, Szames said the apparel business is the only industry NPD Group tracks that has yet to recover from the health crisis.
“The consumer has really been holding back in terms of spendâ¦within that industry.”
At a hearing at Osgoode Hall in Toronto, lawyer Jeremy Dacks, who represented Nordstrom, said the company has “worked hard to achieve a consensual path forward” with landlords, suppliers and a court-appointed monitor to find an orderly way to wind down the business.
The monitor, Alvarez & Marsal Canada, suggested five potential third-party liquidators and Nordstrom was approached by another five. The company decided to go with a joint venture comprised of Hilco Merchant Retail Solutions ULC and Gordon Brothers Canada, which were involved in the liquidation of Target, Sears and Forever 21 in Canada, Dacks said.
They will oversee the sale of merchandise, furniture, fixtures and equipment, but not goods from third parties, which removed products this past weekend, Dacks said. He added that all sales will be final and no returns will be allowed.
Lawyers for Nordstrom landlords Cadillac Fairview, Ivanhoe Cambridge, Oxford Properties Ltd. and First Capital Realty testified Monday that they were pleased with how “smoothly” and “organized” the process has gone so far.
In approving Dacks’ liquidation request, Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz agreed, saying Nordstrom is facing a “difficult time, but this process is unfolding in a very cooperative manner.”
Nordstrom required court approval to begin the liquidation because it is winding down its Canadian operations under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, which helps insolvent businesses restructure or end operations in an orderly fashion.
With files from Joanne Laucius
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