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Bay sees luxury U.S. retailer Saks as global brand with stores in Asia, Europe

The Canadian Press

MONTREAL - HBC wants to transform luxury U.S. retailer Saks into a global brand by opening stores in Asia and Europe while also bringing the iconic brand to Canada.

Vice-chairwoman Bonnie Brooks says the first priority once the US$2.9-billion acquisition closes this year will be to open seven Saks stores in Canada, followed by global expansion.

The timing for the Canadian store openings is still being worked out, but Brooks told reporters Monday that they could come within two years or so.

Brooks says one of the Saks Fifth Avenue stores will be located in Quebec, where "fashion-forward shoppers" are more familiar with the upscale brand than U.S. rival Nordstrom, which is also planning to enter the Canadian market.

Hudson's Bay will also open about 20 Saks Off Fifth Ave. outlet stores in Canada in addition to the full-sized department stores.

And the company (TSX:HBC) also plans a couple more Hudson's Bay outlets, but Brooks wouldn't say if one location will be at a new outlet mall being built in Mirabel, north of Montreal.

Meanwhile, Brooks attributed Target's (NYSE:TGT) disappointing sales start in Canada to "growing pains."

She described Target as a "sophisticated" mass retailer, saying it will find its way and address market differences between Canada and the United States.