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Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre Sees Remarkable Success as Canada’s Top Mall

For the fourth year in a row, Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre ranked as the most productive shopping centre in Canada with annual sales per square foot of $1,964.

That’s a 3.1 percent increase from the previous year, up 15.25 percent from 2017 when it was $1,653.

According to the 2019 Canadian Shopping Centre Study developed by Retail Council of Canada, which was sponsored by Engagement Agents, if Yorkdale sees just a 2 percent increase in 2020, it will surpass $2,000 per square foot annually – the new ‘high benchmark’ for shopping centres in Canada. In the United States, only a handful of centres have surpassed the $2,000 benchmark (in US Dollars), including Bal Harbour Shops in Florida, The Grove in Los Angeles, and the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire.

YORKDALE SHOPPING CENTRE. PHOTO: OXFORD PROPERTIES
YORKDALE SHOPPING CENTRE. PHOTO: OXFORD PROPERTIES

And the best is yet to come for the two-million-square-foot, 270-store property managed by Oxford Properties and owned by Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), on behalf of its clients, and Oxford Properties Group.

“In 2020, Louis Vuitton will build a freestanding flagship store. Nike will also open a large ‘Niketown’ concept store and other negotiations are underway,” said the shopping centre report.

Claire Santamaria, Vice-President of Yorkdale, said there are three main reasons for the shopping centre’s success. First is location. It’s a bonus that the mall is located in the central part of the Greater Toronto Area. Yorkdale is accessible via two major highways and is also on a major subway line as well as a regional ‘Go Transit’ train network which has a stop at the shopping centre.

“The second reason,” said Santamaria, “is the history of the centre. It was built in 1964 as a very large enclosed shopping centre. There are some news reports that actually say that it was the largest in the world at a million square feet. Because of Yorkdale’s history, it’s kept us in a leadership position from the beginning which has helped us tremendously as time has gone on.

“The third point is that there’s been an incredible commitment to Yorkdale over our history through the multiple developers and ownership structures to really continue to invest in the shopping centre and maintain its leadership position.”

KIT KAT, YORKDALE. PHOTO: CRAIG PATTERSON

Anchor stores include Hudson’s Bay (300,870 square feet), Nordstrom (199,000 square feet), and Holt Renfrew (129,000 square feet).

The shopping centre study shows that Yorkdale is approaching $2 billion in annual sales by offering shoppers a wide range of options that include fast fashion to luxury retailers and many food and beverage choices.

“Plans for further expansions will add more retail space and there is a proposal for mixed-use site intensification. Many first-to-Canada retailers have opened in Yorkdale. In 2019, luxury brands such as Bottega Venetta, Valentino, Balenciaga, TAG Heuer, and Hublot opened, along with unique brands such as Kit Kat and Canada’s first by Chloe. vegan restaurant location,” said the national report of the mall that saw 18 million visitors last year.

Santamaria said officials are “elated” with the shopping centre’s sales and performance and that it adds pressure on the developer to ensure that the centre is able to maintain positive sales growth in this retail climate for the retailers who have opened their doors in the building.

“We have an incredible selection of global brands and flagship stores. Yorkdale really has continued to base its differentiating factor on things like exclusivity and limited products and those first-to-market brands that have opened with us first before they expand their businesses in the Canadian market,” she said.

Santamaria said the food and beverage sector has also played a key role over the years in Yorkdale’s success. There’s an appetite for good brands in the marketplace and Yorkdale has been able to attract new food and beverage offerings to help complement the retail in the building.

[Download the Retail Council of Canada Shopping Centre Study]

[Read Canadian Retailer’s Brick-and-Mortar issue with further details]

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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