Canada a Leading ‘Target Destination’ for Global Retailers


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Canada is the sixth most attractive location in the world for retailers to operate, according to the recently published Arcadis Retail Operation Index (PDF). Canada scored particularly high in the index’s ‘ease of operating’ ranking, and scored strongly overall. 

The Arcadis Retail Operation Index ranks 50 international markets according to five key factors that retailers consider when selecting retail locations. These include the following, with Canada’s rankings: 

  1. Infrastructure quality: Canada: 10
  2. Ease of establishing a business and getting it ‘up-and-running’: Canada: 9
  3. Market demand: Canada: 9
  4. Economic environment: Canada: 10
  5. Ease of operating: Canada: 3

The ten most favourable markets for retailers, according to the Arcadis Retail Operation Index, include: 

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. United States
  4. Japan
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Canada
  7. Germany
  8. United Arab Emirates
  9. The Netherlands
  10. Sweden

Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan, all in Asia, occupy three of the top five positions. Each country boasts governments willing to promote foreign investment, creating stability for potentially struggling retailers to improve operations. As well, each has growing middle-class populations seeking consumer goods. 

Despite aging infrastructure, the United States and United Kingdom scored highly — particularly due to favourable regulatory environments and strong economic climate. Two Eurozone countries The Netherlands and Germany made the top 10, though retailers may reevaluate investment given recent issues with the Euro. 

International retailers continue to enter the Canadian market. A substantial number of fashion brands enter Canada through Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre and in 2013, approximately one third of all new international retailers entered Canada through the Toronto mall. As well, a significant number of luxury brands entering the Canadian market over the next 24 months will open their first locations in Vancouver.  

For reference, the ten least favourable markets for retailers to operate, according to the same index: 

41. Vietnam
42. Indonesia
43. India
44. Uruguay
45. Russia
46. Pakistan
47. Paraguay
48. Argentina
49. Nigeria
50. Egypt

Antony Karabus, CEO of leading retail consultancy HRC Advisory, said: “Canada’s exceptional and transparent legal and regulatory systems and well-educated workforce contributes to its high overall rankings, particularly ‘ease of operating'”.  He went on to say, “the significant growth in discretionary income levels and availability of high quality retail real estate make Canada
an attractive market for international fashion and lifestyle retailers, as they continue to see opportunities for profitable growth in the Canadian market, despite increasing competition”. 

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & 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, former lawyer 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.


  1. Are the bottom ten of this list still likely ahead of the 160 odd countries that didn’t even make the list?


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