Holt Renfrew is reportedly in the process of creating an e-commerce website as it anticipates competition from Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. Currently, few Canadian retailers sell luxury merchandise online. According to Holt Renfrew CEO, Mark Derbyshire, the new e-commerce site will be both innovative and impressive.

Derbyshire was interviewed by the Financial Post‘s Hollie Shaw over the weekend during the launch of the newly renovated Holt Renfrew at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Besides discussing how Holt Renfrew plans to foster top-notch customer experiences in its stores, Derbyshire described the company’s proposed e-commerce site as “one of the most innovative sites [he] can imagine” and that he is “building up high expectations” as a result.

Holt Renfrew’s e-commerce endeavours come with good timing. In the next year or so, The Hudson’s Bay Company intends to create a comprehensive e-commerce site for its Canadian Hudson’s Bay department stores division with the help of Saks Fifth Avenue’s web team. Saks also intends to launch its own Canadian e-commerce site. Saks Fifth Avenue and Holt Renfrew will become fierce competitors, as both carry many of the same designers and concessions.

Holt Renfrew may take some comfort in the fact that Nordstrom doesn’t plan to launch a Canadian e-commerce site for the immediate future. Nordstrom does ship to Canada, however, through its American website: www.nordstrom.com. A source at Nordstrom tells us that the company intends to eventually launch a Canadian e-commerce site, though the source wasn’t able to provide any specific timelines. Nordstrom is enjoying substantial sales via its American e-commerce site, as well as significant growth.

Canadian menswear retailer Harry Rosen has run an e-commerce site for several years and according to CEO Larry Rosen, sales are growing. Harry Rosen will continue to compete with Holt Renfrew for menswear sales and both will see increased competition as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom roll out their menswear offerings to Canadians.

Source: Financial Post article by Hollie Shaw

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