Feel blessed because 2018 was a huge year for store openings! Following closely in the footsteps of 2017, international retailers like Muji and Uniqlo continued to expand, while brands like Oomomo and Nordstrom Rack set up shop for the first time.
And while the number of new international retailers may have slowed down, it’s clear that their Canada-wide takeovers haven’t. 2018 was the year of store expansions and off-price retailers, with Japanese dollar stores and Nordstrom Rack ruling the market.
You can guarantee that the top 11 store openings of 2018 are worth a visit.
Designer Shoe Warehouse
Off-price retailers really had a moment in 2018, including Designer Shoe Warehouse who opened three new stores this year. According to Retail-insider, the company opened one in Edmonton, while the other two stores opened in the GTA bringing DSW’s North American store count up to 27 on March 1st, 2018. The new stores also include 1,500 square feet dedicated to women’s handbags as it grows its accessory business. Watch out! Before you know it, DSW will be your new go-to for off-price accessories too.
During the fall of 2018, Aritzia opened its first North American outlet right here in the GTA. The store opening was part of the Toronto Premium Outlet’s much-anticipated expansion, and was joined by other new and exciting outlets like Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo, and more.
Nordstrom Rack is essentially Nordstrom’s version of Winners or Marshalls where you can expect to find incredible deals (up to 70% off) on some of the most coveted brands including Theory, Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff, Ted Baker and more. With six stores across Canada including the downtown Toronto location, get ready for more! Nordstrom Rack has made it clear they’re not slowing down anytime soon – expect to see up to 15 new stores in the next several years.
While Levi’s may already be one of our favourite denim brands, the retailer just opened their first downtown flagship store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre this summer. Although stores like Urban Outfitters and Aritzia distribute Levi’s, the flagship has several perks. Here, you can find Levi’s Authorized Vintage for the first time in Canada, not to mention tech-supported touch points with call buttons. Shopping has never been made easier.
Miniso burst into the scene beginning in 2017, and since then has opened countless Canadian stores. The brand even announced their plan to open 500 stores in Canada within three years, with their latest store openings happening this fall in Quebec, Vancouver, and Ontario. While the name Miniso might not spark the same surprise effect, expect to continue seeing news about one of Dollarama’s biggest competitors.
Another one of the biggest international retailers to enter Canada and continue opening stores at an unbelievable rate is none other than Uniqlo. While Torontonians got the first taste of the affordable apparel retailer in 2017, the Japanese lifestyle brand just opened four more stores between the months of September to November of this year. The first store opening took place in BC, while the others graced the GTA area (Vaughan Mills, Markville, and Mississauga)… I think it’s safe to say that Canadians aren’t getting tired of Uniqlo yet.
Queen Street West is renowned for having some of the coolest shops in Canada, including Asics’ first North American stand-alone store. Along with the innovative store being a whopping 4,400 square ft, it also houses two of the Asics family brands: ASICS and ASICSTIGERTM. The first of its kind, the Queen West store introduced Canadians to the new direction of the brand when it opened its doors to the public this past March.
Casper, one of the most innovative sleep companies out there, opened their first “Casper Sleep Shop” at CF Sherway Gardens this past summer. The location no doubt signals the brands initiative to interest premium shoppers meaning the brand will likely continue to expand into more upscale malls. My, my has Casper come far since 2016! They recently opened a Queen St. West location, too.
Apparently, the Japanese dollar store craze can only get crazier. Oomomo is the newest international variety store to enter the Canadian market, however, the main difference being that Oomomo carries the ever-popular brand Daiso. Having two Canadian stores as of now (Edmonton and Toronto), the retailer has plans for a major Canada-wide expansion. Check out our inside look at the Don Mills and Lawrence store here, and get excited.
If you’ve been keeping up with SD news, then you’ll know that OVO’s newest store was a major hit. Opening in Square One Shopping Centre this past November, the store represents the third GTA-installment. If you don’t believe the hype, just check out the crowd that showed up to support our boy Drizzy at the Mississauga store opening. Clearly, OVO still hasn’t lost its status as it continues to grow in North America.
Muji was BIG news in 2017, so it’s no wonder that the brand decided to make another splash in 2018… just in case you forgot. Introducing Muji Atrium, situated across from the Toronto Eaton Centre, the new store is not only the flagship but is also the largest Muji store outside of Asia. Don’t believe us? It’s 19,000 square ft and has special features like a coffee counter, aroma bar, and digital printing service. Muji Atrium is truly impressive.
Featured image: Instagram/ @karen.is.me