03/09/2015 02:51 EDT | Updated 03/10/2015 01:59 EDT

Nordstrom Overstocks Shelves To Prove It's Not Target Canada

As it expands into Canada, U.S. fashion retailer Nordstrom wants people to know one thing: It’s not Target Canada.

The chain opened its second store in Canada on Friday, at Ottawa’s Rideau Centre, following the opening of its first Canadian location, in Calgary, last fall.

That slow pace is a stark contrast to Target, which opened 133 stores across Canada in the space of little more than a year, before announcing in January it is pulling entirely out of Canada.

And that’s not the only thing Nordstrom is doing differently from Target.

“We probably, because of our sensitivity, were a little guilty internally of maybe even having too much inventory,” Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom told the Globe and Mail.

“That’s put a little pressure on the margins. We’d rather err that way.”

If any one problem sealed Target’s doom north of the border, it was the spectre of empty shelves. Target’s supply problems became the subject of viral blog posts and online derision, and worst of all, became a part of the company’s image in Canada.

Shoppers also complained that Target Canada “wasn’t Target” — neither prices nor selection were comparable. Nordstrom seems aware of this issue, too.

“When we talk to customers in Canada, they don’t want the Canadian version, or Nordstrom light, they want the full deal,” Nordstrom president of stores Jamie Nordstrom told BNN last week.

Nordstrom’s slow-and-steady approach to Canadian expansion will take it to Vancouver’s Pacific Centre this September, followed by locations in Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall and Eaton Centre (fall 2016) and one in Mississauga’s Sherway Gardens in the spring of 2017.

And that’s as far as Nordstrom has gone in terms of Canadian expansion plans.

The retailer has yet to turn a profit in Canada. It lost $32 million last year, when just the Calgary store was open, and expects losses to double this year to around $60 million, the Globe reports.

Still, sales at the Calgary location are higher than the Seattle-based chain’s average across the U.S., the company says, and Calgary has “surpassed expectations,” Jamie Nordstrom said.

He says he expects the company to break even around 2017, and the outlook is “really bullish” beyond that.

“We’re going to be in business here for a long time,” he said.

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