Record Breaking Year for International Retailers Entering Canada

(Photo: Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre, via Oxford Properties) (Photo: Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre, via Oxford Properties) 

(Photo: Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, via Oxford Properties) 

By Craig Patterson

According to our research, about 50 international retailers entered Canada in 2017 by either opening standalone stores, or by opening concessions within a larger host retailer. It’s the most that we’ve seen in the 5+ years that Retail Insider has been publishing, and could be a record. 

The number is particularly surprising, given widely reported news that there is a ‘retail apocalypse’ — though there’s no doubt that some homegrown retailers may be struggling amid all of the new competition that is fighting for Canadian consumer dollars. We think that Canadian retail is in transition and that those offering the best value proposition will succeed, though there are segments that could be close to the saturation point as stores continue to open. 

Canadian shopping centres continue to outperform those in the United States on average, for example, and Retail Council of Canada’s newly released Canadian Shopping Centre Study shows that Canada’s top malls continue to thrive, with Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre again coming out on top with annual sales per square foot of $1,653. It’s a fact that many of the new international retailers that enter Canada do so by opening their first locations at Yorkdale, and 10 of them did so in 2017, according to our research. 

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In order to give us time to put it all together with descriptions, we’ll publish our list of international retailers that entered Canada in 2017 in a lengthy post later this week. 

For 2018, we’ve already got a rather extensive list of brands that will be opening their first retail stores in Canada, and we’ll be reporting on these throughout the year. It’s unclear if 2018 will see as many new openings as in 2017 — though in 2016, we thought we’d seen a lot when we mapped out 21 new international retailers and in 2015, when we counted 28 of them. Things are getting interesting and a lot of retail space will be coming available when Sears Canada shutters its Canadian operations, resulting in millions of square feet of retail space to absorb. 

Happy New Year, and welcome back to Retail Insider. 

Craig Headshot.pngCraig Headshot.png

Craig Patterson, now based in Toronto, is the founder and Editor-in-Chief Retail Insider. He’s also a retail and real estate consultant, retail tour guide and public speaker. 

Follow him on Twitter @RetailInsider_, LinkedIn at Craig Patterson, or email him at:

For more of today’s retail news: Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: January 2, 2018

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Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd.

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