Luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue to open store in Calgary in January 2018

TORONTO – Luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue plans to open its next Canadian store in Calgary in what it says amounts to a vote of confidence that the city’s economy will bounce back from its economic struggles.

“We’re in this for the long haul,” said president Marc Metrick in an interview Tuesday.

Calgary is the financial heart of the country’s oilpatch. As crude prices have fallen over the last two years, the city has been coping with mass layoffs and an unemployment rate of 8.3 per cent in April – above the national rate of 7.1 per cent.

But Metrick said he believes the city’s woes are merely “a point in time.”

“When things come back around … we want to be ready,” he said. “We want to be there.”

The 115,000-square-foot Calgary store would be located in the city’s Chinook Centre. It is set to open in January 2018.

The company said it typically takes it between 1 1/2 and two years to design and build a store.

Saks announced in January 2014 that it planned to open its first two Canadian stores in Toronto. It opened its flagship location at the Eaton Centre in February 2016, followed by its Sherway Gardens location several days later.

Metrick said the flagship location is on track to becoming one of the company’s top performing stores. However, Saks has to make its clothes available to customers faster, as shoppers no longer want to wait months after a runway show to buy a designer label, he said in a speech at a Retail Council of Canada conference in Toronto.

“That’s a work in progress,” he said later in the interview.

The company has said it is considering opening up to seven shops in Canada, but Metrick said that wasn’t set in stone.

“I don’t have a number fixed in my head,” he said. “I obviously want to have more than three.”

Hudson Bay Co., which purchased the Saks brand in mid-2013, will report its first-quarter earnings next week.

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