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Retail Profile: West Edmonton Mall Phase 3 and Phase 4 During COVID-19 (December 2020)

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Retail Insider continues its Photo Tour series of Canadian Malls to provide a glimpse into shopping malls across Canada which may be less frequented due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This edition is the second of a two-part photo tour of the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta. As West Edmonton Mall (WEM) is the largest mall in Canada with over 800 retailers, attractions, and experiences, this edition focuses on Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the shopping centre. We invite you to enjoy the photo tour of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of West Edmonton Mall as well.

In 2019, Christopher Lui wrote a fantastic article which detailed the attractions and retailers that would be joining the lineup. This photo tour won’t be duplicating that information, but instead will be adding context into the current situation that is impacting the mall and retailers.

We have partnered up with Matthew from Best Edmonton Mall for the images that are used in this photo tour. He visited the mall on December 22nd, 2020 and we wanted to share his experience.

Interested in seeing all the photos from the tour of West Edmonton Mall, feel free to visit this post.

The West Edmonton Mall Map – Photo from WEM website.

Dividing Up West Edmonton Mall

One of the more challenging parts of the photo tour was bringing 5.3 million square feet of shopping centre to our loyal Retail Insider readers. As a result, we split West Edmonton Mall into two mall tour articles:

  • Phase 1 and Phase 2 (Part One, our previous article): Completed in 1981 and 1983 respectively; and
  • Phase 3 and Phase 4 (Part Two, this article): Completed in 1985 and 1999 respectively.
WEM Map. Phase 3 and Phase 4 (in Green) featured in this article. Phase 1 and Phase 2 featured in our previous photo tour article.

All four phases have two main retail levels which we’ll cover from the ground (level 1) up (to level 2). As always, the mall tour will progress through the mall in ‘tour zones’. Each zone will highlight the main retail tenants and a selection of other retailers with related links to other Retail Insider articles. This is not an exhaustive listing as the shopping centre has over 800 retailers and our apologies to any retailers we may have overlooked.

Lower Level Overview at West Edmonton Mall

WEM (Phase 3 and Phase 4) – Lower Level – Tour Zones

To start our West Edmonton mall tour, the lower level is the first level we’ll take you through for phases 3 and 4. For understanding, the lower level has been divided into three tour zones for this article:

  • Right Zone (Blue) in Phase 3
  • Centre Zone (Yellow) in Phase 3
  • Left Zone (Green) including Phase 4

West Edmonton Mall, Lower Level, Right Zone in Phase 2

WEM (Phase 3 and Phase 4) – Lower Level – Right Tour Zone

The first zone for Phase 3 and Phase 4 at West Edmonton Mall focuses on the lower level and on the right side (aka, ‘Right Zone’). This area has Bourbon Street with a variety of restaurants including (but not limited to) Moxie’s Grill, Boston Pizza, Earls, and The Old Spaghetti Factory. Key retailers in this zone include Victoria’s Secret/PINK, GAP Kids, and SJP by Sara Jessica Parker. Related articles for the key retailers include:

Victoria’s Secret/PINK at West Edmonton Mall (Petite Bakery in front of them)
Victoria’s Secret/PINK at West Edmonton Mall (Petite Bakery in front of them) – Photo by Matthew at Best Edmonton Mall

Select retailers in this tour zone include:

Bourbon Street saw a renovation and changed its name to BRBN Street a couple of years ago, coinciding with a renovation. Restaurants and foodservice businesses are often busy with patrons.

The main floor ‘main run’ at West Edmonton Mall is among the busiest, with high foot traffic translating into high retail sales. In years past, the Victoria’s Secret store in the mall was the second top-selling location after the Herald Square flagship in Manhattan.

West Edmonton Mall, Lower Level, Centre Zone in Phase 3

WEM (Phase 3 and Phase 4) – Lower Level – Centre Tour Zone

The ‘Centre’ tour zone for Phase 3 and Phase 4 at West Edmonton Mall focuses on the lower level. This area is full of attractions including the ‘World Waterpark’, ‘Deep Sea Adventure Lake’, and ‘Professor Wem’s Adventure Golf’ as well as a food court. Key retailers in this zone include London Drugs and Urban Behaviour. Related articles for the key retailers include:

London Drugs (next to Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf) at West Edmonton Mall
London Drugs (next to Professor WEM’s Adventure Golf) at West Edmonton Mall. Photo by Matthew at Best Edmonton Mall

Select retailers in this tour zone include:

In years past, the Deep Sea adventure featured submarines that visitors could ride to see underwater exhibits, and dolphins were also among the animal shows. The food court saw a renovation in 2015 that created a more modern space, and as tenant leases were renewed it was mandated that facades be updated to create a uniform design touching the ceiling.

The Waterpark has been a major attraction for years and new attractions have been added such as surfing. Sources in the mall say that these attractions have been surprisingly profitable.

In 2014, an expansion wing from entrance 48 was in the planning stages. Included would have been a wing with several retailers anchored by a 150,000-square-foot Nordstrom store. Plans were put on ice as oil prices continued to decline through 2015.

West Edmonton Mall, Lower Level, Left Zone

WEM (Phase 3 and Phase 4) – Lower Level – Left Tour Zone

The last stop on the lower level for Phase 3 and Phase 4 at West Edmonton Mall focuses on the ‘Left Zone’. The shopping centre’s ‘Fantasyland Hotel’ and ‘Caesar’s Bingo’ reside in this section with key retailers in this zone including the Lego Store, Indigo, and the Aurora Flagship. Related articles for the key tenants include:

Lego Store at West Edmonton Mall
Lego Store at West Edmonton Mall. Photo by Matthew at Best Edmonton Mall

Select retailers in this tour zone include:

In 1985, Vancouver-based department store chain Woodward’s opened a two-level store in West Edmonton Mall. Anchoring the west end of the mall, it was considered to be more fashion-forward than the Bay, Eaton’s, and Sears at the east end of the mall. Woodward’s went bankrupt in 1992 and was acquired by the Hudson’s Bay Company, which operated a second Bay store at West Edmonton Mall in the former Woodward’s space for a limited time.

Experiential retail is now the name of the game in this section of the mall with the recent addition of the Lego store as reported in Retail Insider. Aurora Cannabis opened a storefront a couple of years ago and it also features an interactive and entertainment space along with a retail area.

The Fantasy Land hotel is known for its ‘themed’ rooms and two restaurants. The hotel opened in 1986, sharing the same name as the amusement park that was at the time named ‘Fantasy Land’. After a lawsuit with Disney in 1994, the amusement park’s name was changed to Galaxy Land.

West Edmonton Mall (Phase 3 and Phase 4): Upper Level

WEM (Phase 3 and Phase 4) – Upper Level – Tour Zones

Moving up in our West Edmonton mall tour of Phase 3 and Phase 4, the upper level has been divided into three tour zones for this article:

  • Right Zone (Blue) in Phase 3
  • Center Zone (Yellow) in Phase 3
  • Left Zone (Green) in Phases 3 and 4

West Edmonton Mall, Upper Level, Right Zone in Phase 3

WEM (Phase 3 and Phase 4) – Upper Level – Right Tour Zone

The first area on the upper level of Level 3 and Level 4 is home to several luxury retailers, including Louis Vuitton, a recently opened Saint Laurent, and Tiffany & Co., as well as aspirational luxury retailers such as Coach and Michael Kors. The upper level main run has become remarkably upscale with a clustering of top brands including Canada Goose, Untuckit, Matt & Nat, and others. Gucci will open a 5,000-square-foot store in the spring, and other luxury brands are expected to follow.

The ‘Chinatown’ section of the mall is located north of the Louis Vuitton store leading to the T&T grocery store that is said to do in excess of $50 million in sales annually.

Related articles for the key tenants in this section of the mall include:

Louis Vuitton at West Edmonton Mall
Louis Vuitton at West Edmonton Mall. Photo by Matthew at Best Edmonton Mall

Select retailers in this tour zone include:

We expect this part of the mall to continue to see leasing action into 2021 as brands look to locate near the luxury cluster on the upper level. We may see some existing retailers relocated amid more changes.

In years past, landlord Triple Five was negotiating with Holt Renfrew to open a store, with one option being to redevelop the ‘Chinatown’ section of the mall, including the T&T store, for Holt Renfrew. Ultimately a deal was never reached for a new luxury department store.

West Edmonton Mall, Upper Level, Centre Zone

WEM (Phase 3 and Phase 4) – Upper Level – Centre Tour Zone

The second last zone on the upper level of Level 3 and Level 4 is likely the last highly-dense area for retailers and overlooks key attractions like the ‘World Waterpark’ and ‘Deep Sea Adventure’. Key retailers include H&M, Sport Chek, and Bed Bath & Beyond. Related articles for the key tenants include:

Sport Chek at West Edmonton Mall
Sport Chek at West Edmonton Mall – Photo by Matthew at Best Edmonton Mall

Select retailers in this tour zone include:

This is another busy section of the mall housing major national and international brands. Club Monaco has been a tenant at West Edmonton Mall for decades, and years ago its store in this part of the mall was substantially larger.

West Edmonton Mall, Upper Level, Left Zone

WEM (Phase 3 and Phase 4) – Upper Level – Left Tour Zone

The last zone of the West Edmonton Mall tour (Level 3 and Level 4) is the ‘left’ tour zone bordering the ‘Europa Boulevard’ and also hosts the entrance to ‘Fantasyland Hotel’, the home of the famous ‘Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.’ as well as the offices for Stringray music. The main retail anchor for this area is Quebec-based La Maison Simons. Related articles for Simons include:

Simons at West Edmonton Mall
Simons at West Edmonton Mall – Photo by Matthew at Best Edmonton Mall

Select retailers in this tour zone include:

  • Sunrise Records
  • Urbanology
  • Opulence
Bubba Gump Shrimp at West Edmonton Mall. Photo by Matthew at Best Edmonton Mall

La Maison Simons opened with a big splash on October 31, 2012. The 125,000-square-foot store spans two levels with retail contained to one floor for men, women, children, and home goods. Simons is known for its mix of ‘high-low’ that includes luxury brands as well as an expansive assortment of private label products.

Wrap Up of West Edmonton Mall (Phase 3 and Phase 4) Photo Tour

Thank you for reading our tour of West Edmonton Mall’s Phases 3 and 4. The ever-changing West Edmonton Mall will see new retailers and attractions added in 2021 and beyond, and we’ll continue to report on developments at the mall.

Thank you again to Matthew at Best Edmonton Mall for supplying photos for this article.

Interested in Seeing More West Edmonton Mall Photos

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