Over a third of foreign retailers enter Canada through one mall

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Last year, over a third of all first locations for retailers entering Canada were at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. 2013 wasn’t an unusual year for Yorkdale, however. From the inexpensive to luxurious, Yorkdale has been Canada’s entry point for many foreign retailers for a number of years. Its latest mall expansion, anchored by a 188,000 square foot Nordstrom store, will see even more first-to-market retailers between now and 2016. It’s no wonder that the mall is forecasted to become North America’s top-selling mall by 2018. 

In 2012, the mall saw several first-to-Canada retailers open in its south-western expansion, including Kate Spade, LOFT (by Ann Taylor), Microsoft Store, Ted Baker and Tesla Motors. In 2013, Yorkdale held the openings of Canada’s first AllSaints, David Yurman, John Varvatos, Mulberry, White House | Black Market, Tumi, and Zara Home stores.  2014 is proving to be another stellar year for the mall, with a particular focus on luxury. So far, Yorkdale has announced Canada’s first Jimmy Choo, Versace (free-standing), Moncler, Bulgari and Vince Camuto stores. We’re told that more are on the way, possibly including a Uniqlo store that was recently mentioned in the Financial Post

Several other first-to-Canada retailers for Yorkdale include Canada’s first Apple Store (2005), GEOX (2005), Bath & Body Works (2008) and Crate & Barrel (2008)

The mall’s exceptional leasing team, under the management of Oxford Properties, aggressively targets foreign retailers. It also targets foreign tourists, being Canada’s first mall to accept the China UnionPay card. Last year the mall’s annual sales surpassed $1 billion, with sales forecasts of $2 billion by 2018. We expect this to become North America’s top-selling mall, considering current top-selling South Coast Plaza reaches about $1.5 billion annually, with no foreseeable expansion plans. 

Yorkdale’s new 298,000 square foot Nordstrom wing won’t be the mall’s final expansion, however. Another mall expansion is planned after Sears is demolished, housing multiple retailers and as many as two new department stores. Construction won’t likely begin until the Nordstrom wing opens in 2016, and we’ll update you with further details when permitted. 

Source: CBRE report: How Global is the Business of Retail


Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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  1. My 2 cents.
    This mall has some issues.
    Access – Drive the site to exeperience the access issues. It is difficult to get in and out of this property on a weekday forget the weekend.
    Parking – Management has recently informed many mall employees that they are to take public transportation or risk having their vehicles ticketed for $100. The more GFA on this site the more parking required – there is no land to expand onto so the only alternative is parkcades which are extremely expensive.
    Fashion Tenants – There are many tenants in this mall that are at risk. Suzy Shier, SmartSet, Le Chateau, Bikini Village, Fairweather, Johnston Murphy, Laura, and a few more mid market fashion retailers are all at serious risk of becoming obsolete (some of these companies are publicly traded so the info is already out there). To compound this, rental rates in this mall will continue to increase as will the CAM/Tax/Promo etc. Sales are flat for many of the tenants listed. On top of all this, we are now talking about department stores coming in to take more of the pie.

    Not all negative though, as the wealthy elite shoppers with tons of cash will continue to support the higher end shops.

    • "At risk" mid market fashion retailers are likely not an issue for Yorkdale… with a waiting list for retailers to get in, Yorkdale will maintain 100% occupancy, and store turnover means the next tenant will lease for more than the previous one.

      Yorkdale is definitely a moneyed mall, with often scarce parking.


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