Toronto Named ‘Hottest Retail Market in the Americas’

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A recent CBRE report names Toronto as the ‘hottest’ market for international retail expansion in the Americas, attracting 25 new international brands in 2014. It’s a remarkable feat, considering Toronto beat out cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, and others. We spoke with a retail expert to get her opinion. 

The CBRE report, called “How Global is the Business of Retail“, tracked new brands entering 164 cities in 50 countries. The report found that U.S. retailers are the most active when expanding into global markets — in 2014, American retailers accounted for 26% of all cross-border expansion. Italian retailers were second at 14%, following by U.K.-based retailers at 11% and French retailers with 10% of all cross-border expansion. 

The study evaluated the most active retail sectors, determining that 26% of retailers expanding into the Americas were ‘Luxury & Business’ retailers, followed by 20% for ‘Mid-Range’ retailers, followed by ‘Specialist Clothing’ at 14%.


Referring to Toronto, specifically, the report states: 

“…Toronto is considered a gateway city; in 2014 it attracted 25 new international brands. With a diverse population with a good level of disposable income, it’s unsurprising that interest in Toronto is high. Many of the foreign brands that have come to Canada, and more specifically Toronto, over the past few years have been very profitable. Other brands are seeing and recognizing this positive reception of their competitors as an opportunity for their own success in the Canadian marketplace.”

We spoke with Farla Efros, President of leading retail consulting firm HRC Advisory, to get her opinion on why Toronto ranked so highly. She explained that Toronto lagged some other world cities in terms of international retailers, and that the city is finally catching up as retailers continue to enter the Canadian market. As well, as mentioned above, retailers are seeing Canada as a viable growth option. Toronto, specifically, is increasingly seeing high-end shoppers who are benefiting from a combination of wealth and commerce, as well as significantly increased tourism internationally. Tourists are increasingly seeing Toronto as a popular shopping destination, which should increase even further with the opening of stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom next year. 

Thank you ACT7 of Urban Toronto for directing us to this topic. 

Can you identify the 25 new international retailers which came to Toronto last year? The comments section below is open to freely post – you may do so anonymously, or by signing in. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider, Publisher of Retail Insider the magazine and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, and a public speaker. 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. Karen Millen, Kleinfeld at The Bay, does Versace at Yorkdale count? Because Versace is in Vancouver but Toronto has the first free-standing I think.


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