Saks Fifth Avenue’s first Canadian outpost has landed—in style, of course. The American department store’s three-storey Toronto Eaton Centre location opened mid-February, with a second, Sherway Gardens, to debut days later.
Saks Fifth Avenue began the collective project of Horace Saks and Bernard Gimbel, independent retailers who dreamed of opening a speciality department store “synonymous with fashionable and gracious living.” In September 1924, this dream come to fruition when the partners opened the first Saks Fifth Avenue on—where else?—New York’s residential upper Fifth Avenue. The company has since spread with nearly 40 stores across the United States and five international locations. Still, a Canadian retailer was nowhere to be seen—that is, until a change of ownership in 2013. “When Hudson’s Bay Company acquired Saks Fifth Avenue, bringing the brand to Canada was one of the main points of the deal,” says Metrick. “Toronto is the fourth largest city in North America and it didn’t have a Saks—it was time!”
Along with establishing Saks as the exclusive Canadian carrier for luxe international brands including upscale beauty and fragrance lines By Terry, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, and Memo Paris, this foray north sees an elevation in the quality of customer service. The new Saks at Your Service program purports to be a step up from classic personal shopping, with services ranging from beauty makeovers to on-call personal styling led by one of the Fifth Avenue Club’s associates. Much like the services offered by Nordstrom, another American retail giant to enter Canada (via Vancouver) of late, Saks at your Service draws no lines in terms of how far it will go for customers; if you need them, they’ll even come to you.
Saks has no plans to expand beyond Toronto for now.
Photo by David Pike.