Londonderry Mall in Edmonton Adding New Grocery Anchor Following Save-on-Foods Exit [Interview]

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For Londonderry Mall in Edmonton, the introduction of a La Maison Simons store a few years ago was a game changer.

Now, the shopping centre, in the northeast part of the city, is eagerly looking forward to the introduction of a No Frills grocery store to boost traffic and fill a void.

Vanessa Treleaven

Vanessa Treleaven, Londonderry Mall’s Assistant Property Manager and Marketing Manager, said the new grocery store, which will open in the summer of 2023, replaces the Save-On-Foods store which left last year.

“This is so important for us because we are nestled into a residential area. So a lot of people will walk to the mall, get their groceries. It’s definitely a big hole that’s missing for us right now,” she said. 

“We’ve had a lot of people asking when we were going to fill that space. When we announced we were getting the No Frills it was really, really exciting for a lot of our customers. They rely on it.”

Image: Londonderry Mall
Specsavers at Londonderry Mall (Image: Londonderry)

The mall, which opened in 1972, is 780,000 square feet with about 140 stores.

“We’ve had a lot of movement in the past year. We’ve brought our Specsavers location which was a great addition. As well as that, we have a very strong shop local movement within our mall. So we’ve got quite a few more Specialty Leasing tenants that are just local to Edmonton,” said Treleaven.

The mall has 27 Specialty Leasing tenants with the following ones opened just this year – Sterling Gallery, Calendar Club, Casamia Furniture, Hickory Farms, YEG Exotic Pop, VR Volt, Mali Art Studio, and Lazy One.

“Our Specialty Leasing program is so strong any vacancies we have are backfilled right away,” added Treleaven.

“We’re getting really close to 2019 numbers especially when we factor in that we don’t have our grocery tenant right now. When we compare the same stores, it’s very close. We’re trending above 2021 for sure and we’re just under those 2019 numbers. That’s really encouraging to see that.

“In terms of spend, we’re taking into consideration that the economy right now isn’t necessarily the best and people don’t have as much disposable income, so we’re not quite at our 2019 numbers for revenue but we’re very close.”

Image: Londonderry Mall

Simons opened a store at Londonderry in 2017 and has been a big customer draw for the mall since then.

“It’s such a wonderful store. They’re an amazing anchor to have. We definitely draw from all over the north side of the city, even central. They’re huge for us. It was definitely a game changer when they came on board. I think it really repositioned us back into the market as a force, as a shopping centre that people want to come visit. It’s definitely been awesome.”

Londonderry Mall is owned by Montez Corporation and managed by Cushman & Wakefield

Treleaven said the retail sector is experiencing a slow return from the pandemic but it is coming back.

“I think people are more and more comfortable with shopping in-store versus online. They missed that interaction. That being able to actually touch and feel the product. I think that is a huge thing that’s missing for people and now that COVD is becoming more of a thing of the past, although we’re still dealing with it, more people are wanting to go back to the stores,” she said.

“I’m noticing it with Christmas shopping. Last year was definitely in the thick of COVID and we felt that but now we’re seeing people coming in and they want to try on things, they want to actually see things in person and it’s reflecting in our traffic and in our sales and even the events that we run. We do marketing events at the mall and I’m noticing a lot more people are willing to come, they’re willing to bring their families, their kids. And they’re not as scared anymore and I think that’s a super, super positive thing for the brick and mortar style retailers moving forward.”

Image: Londonderry Mall
Image: Londonderry Mall

Recently, the Edmonton Police Service returned to Londonderry Mall this holiday season to provide gifts to deserving youth through the CopShop program, a national initiative from real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield. The program pairs eligible children and teens with police officers to spend a day together shopping using gift cards donated by Londonderry Mall. This is the first time since 2019 that the program has been able to bring the children to the shopping centre to enjoy the day in person, due to COVID-19.

“While our main focus is and will always be to give back to our communities in whatever way possible, there’s something special about the connection that the police officers get to build with these incredibly resilient children, allowing them to build even stronger relationships within the communities they serve,” said Treleaven.

Each year, children are selected to participate in the CopShop program based on need, recognition of academic performance, sports achievements and volunteering efforts. This year, the feel-good community initiative which aims to foster positive relationships between police officers and Canada’s youth, welcomed 20 children and contributed $4,000 in gift cards.

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 is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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