Canada’s Top Malls Share Several Key Tenants

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A recent report from Credit Suisse identified six retailers common to America’s ‘most valuable’ mall properties. We thought it would be interesting to do a similar comparison with Canada’s top centres, though there are some key differences between the two countries. 

Credit Suisse identified Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, Lululemon, Apple, Tiffany & Co. and The Cheesecake Factory (restaurant) as common tenants to the ‘most valuable’ U.S. malls. Canada’s top malls share some of the same tenants. Nordstrom, however, currently operates only three Canadian stores, and it will open three more Canadian locations (all in Toronto) by the fall of 2017. A deal to open Canada’s first Cheesecake Factory location, which would have been located in a leading mall, fell through last year. 

We recently reported on Canada’s top 25 shopping centres in terms of sales per square foot. We’ll use that list as our ‘most valuable’ malls for convenience, and discuss tenants in a few of the top properties. 

Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, which is both Canada’s most productive and highest-selling mall property ($1,610/square foot annual sales, $1.2 billion in total sales), features locations for Louis Vuitton, Lululemon, Tiffany & Co. and Apple. Although the mall’s Louis Vuitton store is technically a concession at Holt Renfrew, it features a mall-fronting entrance and at 4,000 square feet, is the third largest Vuitton location in the country. Nordstrom will join the mix when it opens a 196,000 square foot location at Yorkdale on October 21 of this year. 

Vancouver’s CF Pacific Centre ($1,599/square foot annual sales) features a 230,000 square foot Nordstrom flagship which opened last September, as well as locations for Apple, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton. The Tiffany and Vuitton locations are both shop-in-store concessions within the mall’s productive and expanding Holt Renfrew. It’s worth noting that Pacific Centre lacks a Lululemon store, though there’s one three blocks west at 970 Robson Street (corner of Burrard Street). 

Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre ($1,537/square foot annual sales) includes locations for Tiffany & Co., Apple and Lululemon. The mall lacks Nordstrom and Louis Vuitton locations. Given the mall’s expansion plans and proximity to Vancouver’s affluent West Side, more upscale tenants can be expected. 

Toronto’s CF Toronto Eaton Centre ($1,509/square foot annual sales) features Lululemon and Apple stores, but lacks a Tiffany & Co. location. Louis Vuitton opened a 1,200 square foot concession last month within Saks Fifth Avenue, which occupies part of the mall’s Hudson’s Bay building. The centre is a hotbed of activity (being at Canada’s busiest pedestrian intersection) and on September 16 of this year, Nordstrom will open a 220,000 square foot flagship in space formerly occupied by Sears. Rumour has it that Apple will also open a replacement store in the centre — this time as a flagship location

Edmonton’s Southgate Centre ($1,215/square foot annual sales) features Apple Store and Lululemon locations. The mall lacks Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton and Nordstrom stores. It’s unclear if any of these will open at the centre — Tiffany & Co. operates a successful location at West Edmonton Mall, and until recently Nordstrom was also in talks to open at Canada’s biggest centre. Although Louis Vuitton is said to be seeking suburban Edmonton space (to replace an existing downtown Holt Renfrew concession), sources say that Vuitton is unlikely to move into Southgate. 

Calgary’s CF Chinook Centre ($1,119/square foot annual sales) has become increasingly upscale over the past several years. Nordstrom opened its first Canadian store at Chinook in the fall of 2014, and the mall now houses locations for Apple, Tiffany & Co. and Lululemon. We’re not aware of any plans to add Louis Vuitton to the mix, though rumours persist that Saks Fifth Avenue will open in the mall’s former Target space, possibly housing a Vuitton shop-in-store concession. 

Mississauga’s Square One ($1,008/square foot annual sales) is also becoming substantially more upscale, and it recently opened a ‘luxury wing’ with several first-to-market tenants. The mall features locations for Apple and Lululemon, and in the summer of 2016, Tiffany & Co. will open a shop-in-store concession within the mall’s new 130,000 square foot Holt Renfrew flagship. Sources say that Louis Vuitton could also eventually join Square One’s retail mix with a concession at Holt’s.

Downtown Toronto’s Royal Bank Plaza retail component ($1,096/square foot annual sales) is remarkable because 1) it features none of the retailers discussed above, and 2) the centre operates only six days a week between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm Monday-Friday, and 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturdays. The Oxford Properties-managed centre houses a number of strong tenants to serve Canada’s financial district, including dapper American fashion retailer Brooks Brothers

Article Author

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.

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