Shopping in Vancouver for Expats
Because Vancouver is a very cosmopolitan city, you will find a vast range and assortment of shops and chains, everything from the very top design and fashion houses, to up-and-coming designers, to popular chain stores, to thrift and second-hand stores. If Chanel, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton are your style, the downtown offers haute couture fashions with a twist of careless flamboyance and fresh edge that the West Coast is all about. Some of the major North American department and chain stores have outlets in Vancouver, such as Sears, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy.
There are purely Canadian department stores such as The Bay (comparable to Macy’s) and Holt Renfrew (comparable to Saks 5th Avenue, featuring the latest haute couture fashions and designs). There are all the well-known North American stores such as Bombay, Ethan Allen, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and Pier 1 Imports. IKEA is well represented in Vancouver with two nearby locations, and Bed-Bath-and Beyond, as well as Linens and Things, both have outlets in Vancouver. Winners and HomeSense are popular Canadian chain stores that sell brand-name clothing, accessories, and home furnishings at a fraction of the retail cost, comparable to Ross and TJ Maxx in the U.S. For DIY, Home Depot is a trusted name, with locations all over the city, and Canadian Tire, a well-loved Canadian chain store, does it all—automotive, home furnishings and accessories, kitchenware, and DIY resources. Nordstroms is now established in Vancouver and offers some excellent shopping opportunities for expats in Vancouver
You won’t lack for choices when it comes to shopping in Vancouver. There are more than 5 major shopping malls in Metro Vancouver, and numerous smaller shopping centers, streets, and areas. Prices are higher than in most of the U.S., overall (keep in mind the higher tax, 12%), but quality is typically good, and Vancouver’s economy operates at a higher level than many North American cities, with higher salaries (generally speaking) and incomes matching the higher prices.
Many stores are open on Sundays in Vancouver, but with limited hours. Some are closed on Sundays. Generally speaking, if stores are open on Sundays, they will open late and close early, usually no later than 5 or 6 p.m. Most stores are open long hours on Saturdays, as it is the biggest shopping day of the week. On weekdays, many stores open sometime between 9 and 11 a.m. (depending on the type of store, many grocery stores are open at 6 a.m.), and will stay open until 6-7 p.m. or later. Some retail stores will stay open as late as 9 p.m, and some supermarkets are open until 10 or 11 p.m. It is always best to call, or check the website, to ask about hours of operation. You’ll find in Vancouver that stores don’t tend to stay open 24/7 as many do in the U.S. Vancouverites are all about the good life, and living the good life means having time to live it! Thus stores tend to open later and close earlier.