Almost three years from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can feel like more and more businesses, big and small, are permanently closing in Canada .
However, it's not all bad news, as several big-name stores and restaurants actually have ambitious plans for expansion in Canada this year.
From dollar stores and fashion brands, to cafés and fast-food chains, these companies plan to expand their Canadian footprint – with some hoping to hundreds of new locations to their portfolio.
Here's a look at just a few of the big-name brands you might be seeing a whole lot more of in Canada over the coming year or so:
Back in 2021, fan-favourite Dollarama announced its ambitious expansion plans for Canada .
Thanks to the "continued relevance of Dollarama's business model," the company believes it can grow its network of Canadian stores to 2,000 by 2031.
Despite the unexpected setback of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company still increased its previous long-term store target of 1,700 stores in Canada by 2027.
With such ambitious plans in the works, you can certainly expect to see a few more Dollarama stores cropping up in 2023.
In 2017, IKEA Canada confirmed its plans to expand "from coast to coast" and double in size by 2025.
The Swedish retailer intends to have 24 IKEA stores in Canada by 2025, with potential new locations yet to be confirmed.
And with just 15 stores in Canada as of February 2023, the company will have to add quite a few more locations to its portfolio over the next year or two to meet its initial target.
Last year, the flatpack furniture store did open two new planning studios – which do look a little different from the classic huge warehouses. Another small-format store is set to open in Toronto this summer .
Don't call it a comeback!
Zellers has arguably one of the most famous expansion plans in Canada for this year, with the nostalgic retailer set to return from coast to coast.
The company behind the return recently confirmed that there will be new locations in cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg, to name just a few.
What's more, a new e-commerce store and a Zellers food truck will also be launched "in early 2023."
We don't have exact dates of the re-launch just yet, but Canadians can expect most – if not all – locations to open before the end of 2023.
It won't be just like the good old days though, as all 25 new stores will be located within different Hudson Bay locations.
This means those Zellers mega-stores of the past will not be coming back – at least not this year, anyway.
In 2021, beauty retailer Sephora laid out its Canadian expansion plans to Narcity, confirming its goal of 50 new locations by the end of 2023.
Part of the company's ongoing plan is to invest in new locations outside of malls, so that its products are accessible to makeup and beauty lovers across Canada.
With many new stores already up and running, we certainly haven't seen the end of Sephora on the high street.
A Mango store.
Zara and Aritiza lovers, rejoice! Spanish fashion retailer Mango recently opened its first store in Canada – and apparently there's plenty more where that came from.
After opening its flagship store at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in January 2023, six more stores are planned for Toronto within the next decade.
An additional 20 locations are coming to the rest of the country too, although exact locations are yet to be announced.
With such ambitious plans, fashion fans should not be surprised to see a new Mango store the next time they visit the mall.
A recent report from Retail Insider gave insight into Fox Home's plans to expand into Canada this year.
The Tel Aviv-based home furnishings concept wants to open an initial eight locations in Toronto in 2023, before expanding into new markets at a later date.
The company promises "a new and fresh concept for the home products market," with high quality goods at a discounted price, according to Retail Insider.
Craving fried chicken? There's good news ahead.
In 2022, Chik-fil-A announced its plans to open 20 new locations in Canada within the next three years, with a specific focus in two regions.
The American fast-food giant wants to open new locations across Ontario and Alberta in particular over the coming year or so, with several restaurants already opening their doors as of February 2023.
Another American fast food chain that's eyeing up a Canadian takeover is Taco Bell.
In January 2023, the Mexican-inspired resto announced its plans to open a whopping 200 new locations in Canada within eight years – doubling the franchise's existing Canadian location count.
While specific details are yet to be confirmed, restaurants are set to be built across B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
With such ambitious targets over the next few years, you can expect to find a whole more tacos, quesadillas and burritos coming your way.
In 2021, Retail Insider reported on Baskin Robbins' plan to launch its "most aggressive expansion" in its 51-year history.
While the ice cream company did not commit to a specific timeline, it did suggest a goal of a "couple of years" to open 25 new locations.
The majority of the new stores – several of which have already opened – will be within the Vancouver and Calgary markets.
Last summer, vegan fast-food chain Odd Burger confirmed its plans to open 40 new locations in Ontario by 2030.
It came just months after the company had also announced its goal to bring 36 new restaurants to Alberta and B.C. within a similar time frame.Describing itself as "one of the fastest growing vegan fast-food chains in the country," vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will likely see an increased number of Odd Burger Canadian locations over the coming months and years.
One of France’s largest coffee shop chains, Columbus Café, has some pretty hefty expansion plans in Canada.
By 2025, the chain plans to open a total of 100 locations in the Canadian market, with a focus on Quebec and Toronto to begin with.
In November 2022, Retail Insider reported that the company had a goal of opening one location every month.
If it succeeds, you can expect a whole host of new cafés in Canada before the end of this year.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.