I finally had the chance to visit the new shoe department at Hudson’s Bay, Queen Street. The new space, which has been touted as the biggest shoe department in Canada (and apparently, second biggest in North America), carries brands ranging from more budget-friendly lines such as Nine West to luxury brands, including Christian Louboutin and Charlotte Olympia. What this department lacks, however, is sizing. For a department of its size, selection for people with smaller feet (size 5 1/2 or smaller) is not big. At my visit, I felt that they had no more selection than Holt Renfrew, which has a much smaller shoe section (the size 5 section on the sale rack was but a tiny corner. Holt Renfrew has a small table AND a good portion of a rack). In fact, I can easily find shoes as small as size 4 at Holts!
I would have thought that with Nordstrom coming to Canada in the next few years, they’d try to up the competition – Nordstrom is, after all, known for carrying a good selection of extended sizes on both ends. They even hold events at least once a year focusing on shoes smaller than size 6 and larger than size 10. This is what I call appealing to a wide customer base and good marketing. Many people with “unusual” size feet feel uncomfortable shoe shopping – they don’t like leaving disappointed or, worse, get “weird” looks from sales people. At places like Nordstrom or even Holts, there’s less of that uncomfortableness. You know that there should be something in that size, and often without the need to special order. Hudson’s Bay better start catching up.
Images courtesy of Retail Insider/Samson Yuen