Saks shareholders have approved its merger with Canadian department store retailer Hudson's Bay Company, in a move that creates a leading upscale North American fashion retail business.

The US$2.9bn merger, which is due to close on 4 November, will see HBC expand the Saks banner to Canada, opening as many as seven full-line Saks Fifth Avenue stores and up to 25 Off 5th outlet locations over the next few years. The group will continue Saks' plans to expand the Off 5th footprint across the US.

HBC chief executive officer and governor Richard Baker said: "By uniting Saks, Hudson's Bay and Lord & Taylor, we are creating a platform built upon three brands with a rich heritage in retailing. We will be well positioned to serve customers across a range of shopping experiences, including the luxury, mid-tier and outlet categories."

"We plan to invest in the growth potential of each brand and category. And, we will unlock the tremendous potential of the company's world-class real estate assets. As we pursue our strategic growth plans, we look forward to driving increasing value for HBC shareholders."

In addition to the appointments announced earlier this month, HBC has added to its corporate shared services group, including Mike Culhane as CFO, Marc Metrick as chief administrative officer, and Kerry Mader as executive vice president of store planning, design and construction.