Since a redevelopment in 2016, CF Masonville Place in London, Ontario, has seen some significant growth as the shopping centre is being buoyed by strong demographics in the expanding marketplace.
Sandra Lorentiu, General Manager of CF Masonville Place, said the mall has been really fortunate in the market to bring unique retailers that are not available within southwestern Ontario such as Zara, Disney, Lululemon, The Keg, and the Rec Room.
“That continues to allow us to have a strong foothold in the market and positions us as the predominant destination within southwestern Ontario,” said Lorentiu of the Cadillac Fairview property.
The shopping centre first opened in 1985 and has about 680,000 square feet with about 165 stores. It is located in the northern part of London.
According to the Canadian Shopping Centre Study 2019, by the Retail Council of Canada and sponsored by Engagement Agents, CF Masonville Place was listed as the 14th most productive mall in Canada with sales per square foot of $974 which was an increase of 2.96 per cent compared with the year before. In 2018, sales growth was 1.39 per cent from 2017.
During the redevelopment, the shopping centre took back the parcels of space for the former Sears and Target stores and was able to reconfigure and re-merchandise units.
“Within the kind of Sears box we were able to introduce the likes of Zara and H&M and The Keg and some other great CRU (commercial retail unit) that has seen some great success since their opening in 2016 as well as last year we opened what was formerly the Target box and backfilled the Target space with the likes of TJX’s HomeSense and Marshall’s as well as a 40,000-square-foot Rec Room,” said Lorentiu.
“This year we have the likes of Nike joining us as well too. A Bailey Nelson which is an eyewear concept as well we are expanding our American Eagle, expanding our Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique concept and next year an exciting component for us from a retail perspective is that we’ll be enhancing and renovating our food court.”
The food court right now produces over $2,000 per square foot in sales and the shopping centre will be adding more seating and replacing the existing seating. Out of the 14 food vendors on site, 10 of them will be bringing in new concepts. Enhancements will be made to the washrooms as well as the introduction of a universal washroom.
“This exciting project kicks off in January of 2021 and we should have it wrapped up by September of 2021,” said Lorentiu.
“We know that food spend is an integral part of the shopping centre. You’ll see at several centres coast to coast that we’ve enhanced that offering. There was a point in time that shopping centres had one or two restaurants. At this point, we have at least four on the site with various specialty food offerings. So we know that the food court is a destination and is part of the shopping experience. And it’s important for us to ensure that the food courts remain relevant and inclusive and from a service perspective provides what families need when they’re here.”
CF Masonville Place’s success is being helped by the explosive growth in London – one of the fastest growing communities in Canada.
“We have the fourth largest hospital in Canada as well we have probably out of all our shopping centres and communities the largest density of students when we’re at our peak. So between (the University of) Western (Ontario) and Fanshawe (College) a total of probably 70,000 students,” said Lorentiu.
“When it comes to awareness and visitation of shop, we are the destination. This is the only kind of spot within 150 kilometres that people can come to for a fulsome shopping experience and having all sorts of great brands from the Zaras of the world to The Keg to even having HBC at our doorstep. We are the destination.”
Last fall, the shopping centre reinvented its guest service area to be more accessible to all consumers. It collaborated with Level Playing Field Inc. and Community Living London to ensure it was designed with inclusive accessibility in mind.
CF Host Services offers the following new features: iPad with accessible forms of media; open and accessible space for all; mixed textures and materials focused on accessibility and sustainability; enhanced services including lost and found and wheelchair rental; motorized wheelchair and scooter charging; and a water station to refill your bottle and rehydrate service animals.
“We’re testing it right now and it will be the standard for us moving forward at Cadillac Fairview at how we interact with our guests,” added Lorentiu.