Real estate giant Cadillac Fairview dominated the recent Retail Council of Canada Canadian Shopping Centre Study, which ranked the nation’s most productive malls. Five of Cadillac Fairview’s properties made the top 10 list for sales per square feet.
Also, 13 of its 19 shopping centres across Canada were listed in the Study’s top 30.
The full Study, including the Special Physical Retail Edition of Canadian Retailer, can be downloaded here.
Cadillac Fairview properties making the top 10 list include: 2. CF Pacific Centre (Vancouver); 3. CF Toronto Eaton Centre; 6. CF Chinook Centre (Calgary); 8. CF Sherway Gardens (Toronto); and 9. CF Richmond Centre (Vancouver).
Cadillac Fairview’s Salvatore Iacono said the company’s success in the retail space can be attributed to choosing the right markets and, just as importantly, making the right investments to ensure it has properties in the right locations where consumers are looking for the best offerings.
“Once we picked the right locations, we made the properties special in terms of how they’re laid out, in terms of all the amenities that we’re providing – safety, security, parking access, great environment, great atmosphere, great common areas,” he said.
“The single most important thing that we’ve done, however, is ensuring that we’ve always had the right retail mix. At the core of it, customers – our clients – come to the mall because we give them the best choice of retailers possible under one roof. That’s part of our retail DNA. We’re constantly striving for the best retail mix and merchandising mix to ensure that people have the ability to come to our locations and get what they need and what they want. It’s what keeps people coming back to us.”
All of the company’s shopping centres are enclosed malls with the exception of CF Shops at Don Mills in Toronto, which is an open-air mall. Cadillac Fairview also has a number of retail spaces as part of mixed-use properties in locations that include the Toronto Dominion Centre, an office complex, and Maple Leaf Square.
Across Canada, the landlord currently owns about 20 million square feet of retail space.
Iacono said that Cadillac Fairview is in a constant process of learning, researching and investigating with respect to consumers, trends and other markets as it continues to change the mix of retailers at its malls. The landlord’s diligence results in it being able to constantly offer properties that are fresh, vital and interesting for its visitors, enticing them to return to its shopping centres.
“Retail is always changing and in a constant state of renewal,” said Iacono. “As shopping centre landlords, we need to have our finger on the pulse of who’s hot, who’s less hot, the different merchandising categories that are being created. Somewhere in the world as we speak there’s a retailing concept, format, merchandise or product that’s being ideated that we’re not familiar with. And five years from now, we’ll probably have it in one of our malls. We’re always looking out for that new brand, new retailer or new product that makes it interesting for our clients to keep coming back to our malls.”
Throughout the company’s history, it’s also made sure to prioritize its properties and investments. At one point in time, Cadillac Fairview owned about 70 malls or retail properties across Canada. But it picked the ones it wanted to focus on, selling the others.
“We made massive investments in the properties that we decided to focus on,” said Iacono, adding that the company is ensuring it is spending the money to make its properties the best they can be. “For example, at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto, we invested in excess of $500 million, completing the project about three or four years ago.”
In addition to the investments the landlord has made in its retail spaces, it’s also focused considerable attention to the redevelopment of some of its shopping malls as multi-use properties.
“The work that we’re doing is not just about enhancing and improving our existing retail. It also includes future densification, which is really exciting. At CF Richmond Centre near Vancouver, we’re embarking on the sales program of a couple of phases of new residential projects that we’re going to be building as part of our property. We have the opportunity to add close to 2,000 residential units at Richmond.
“This is the trend going forward for Cadillac Fairview,” he said. “And it’s also a trend for many other shopping centre owners across Canada. There’s been an acknowledgement that in order to ensure the vitality of a property and improve the sales and traffic, you’ve also got to make sure that you can enhance the value of the retail experience by adding density and other uses around the mall.”
To download retail Council of Canada’s Canadian Shopping Centre Study 2019, which includes an in-depth look at the Canadian shopping centre of the future, visit https://www.retailcouncil.org/research/shopping-centre-study-2019/