You’d be forgiven for imagining that all the retail activity in Canada these days is confined to the internet space. But the mall, as it turns out, is the place to be.
Take that, online shopping.
A new report from real estate services firm, Avinson Young, paints a picture of a buzzing mall scene, with the country’s leading shopping centres setting records for sales per square foot ($994 in 2015).
Thanks in great part to deep-pocketed institutional owners, retail real estate’s 10 best performers in 2015—which together account for 10% of the total retail mall rentable space and 12% of the total number of stores—enjoyed a growth spike last year of between three percent and 20%.
The commentary that accompanied the study speculates on the reasons for this impressive performance, and lands on four as the most probable: More domestic shoppers (as Canadian consumers curb their US border shopping in response to their own low dollar), population growth in urban areas, low vacancy rates and new supply.
Ranked according to sales per square foot, Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre tops the list (with retail sales of $1,610 per square foot). The balance of Canada’s top 10 runs as follows:
- Pacific Centre, Vancouver, BC
- Oakridge Centre, Vancouver, BC
- CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Toronto, ON
- Southgate Centre, Edmonton, AB
- CF Chinook Centre, Calgary, AB
- Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto, ON
- CF Rideau Centre, Ottawa, ON
- Metropolis at Metrotown, Burnaby, BC
- Square One, Mississauga, ON.
With two exceptions, all 10 of the commercial real estate winners hail from either British Columbia or Ontario, demonstrating that the real estate boom their residential counterparts are experiencing isn’t an isolated affair.
British Columbia, the study shows, was the leading province for retail activity in 2015, with a sales boost of 6.6%. Vancouver, meanwhile, was the Canadian city that played host to the biggest retail sales spike in 2015: 9.9%. Retail sales in Ontario grew by 4.5% in 2015, and in Toronto by 5.4%.