Yorkdale Breaks Records as the Highest-Performing Shopping Centre in Canada [ICSC Study/Analysis] 

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Sales came roaring back to Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in 2022 after pandemic lockdowns hammered the retail industry. A new report from ICSC indicates record-breaking sales per square foot at Yorkdale for 2022, while overall sales at the centre surpassed $2 billion for the first time. 

The ICSC report shows Yorkdale’s sales at $2,226 per square foot, surpassing previous numbers in Retail Council of Canada’s shopping centre studies that were published from 2016 up to 2019

The two million square foot Yorkdale Shopping Centre also saw sales surpassing $2 billion for the first time, making it among the top performers globally for a major fashion mall. A decade ago we reported that Yorkdale was the first mall in Canada to surpass sales of $1 billion.

“For almost 60 years, Yorkdale has been a leader in the industry with its unrivalled mix of first to market, luxury, and flagship retailers, that attracts both brands and shoppers from across Canada and the world,” said Bradley Jones, Head of Leasing and Operations, Oxford Properties.

Holt Renfrew, left, currently operates several luxury brand concessions at Yorkdale with entrances facing into the mall including Chanel, Brunello Cucinelli, Dior, Fendi and Gucci. To the right in the image are storefronts for Tiffany & Co., Celine, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and Valentino. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.
In 2016, Richemont Group opened four luxury jewellery/watch boutiques at Yorkdale including Piaget, Vacheron Constatin, IWC and Panerai. All four are in a space formerly occupied by a Williams Sonoma store. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.

Yorkdale launches more first-to-Canada retailers than any place in the country. Landlord Oxford Properties said in a statement that 53 new retailers have opened at Yorkdale over the past five years. Of those, 29 retailers were first-to-market, and over half of those are in the luxury category. The high sales per square foot at Yorkdale can be attributed partly to the performance of the many luxury brands that are located at Yorkdale, with some of those retailers doing tens of millions of dollars in sales annually. Other productive retailers boosting the mall’s performance include highly productive locations for Apple, Tesla and Canada Goose, among others. 

“Yorkdale is the destination where designers choose to open first in Canada. The centre has welcomed an impressive number of first to market luxury retailers and destination food and beverage offerings over the last few years,” said William Correia, Director, Yorkdale Shopping Centre. “Yorkdale continues to elevate the shopping experience to draw visitors from across Canada and internationally with the centre’s sense of discovery and sophistication.” 

Yorkdale has been beefing up its food and beverage offerings, including a soon-to-open Earls restaurant that joins several other full-service options including a busy location for Canada’s only Cheesecake Factory. Upscale offerings such as Ladurée (which will soon be expanding its offerings) serve shoppers as well as retailers that purchase items as gifts for customers. The mall also has a busy third-level food court which has recently seen renovations as well as the addition of new vendors such as Chick-fil-A. 

French bakery concept Ladurée opened its first Toronto location at Yorkdale in late 2017. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.
Italian jeweller Bulgari recently expanded and renovated its Yorkdale location, which is one of the top in North America in terms of sales. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.
Luxury menswear retailer Harry Rosen operates one of its largest and most productive stores at Yorkdale. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.
Swedish fashion rand Acne Studios opened its first store in Canada last year at Yorkdale. The unique store design is inspired by a temple, including a low-height entrance leading into a cavernous space. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.

Yorkdale is an interesting case study in consumer shopping — in 2020 Louis Vuitton opened a 7,000 square foot standalone store in the mall while maintaining its concession presence at Holt Renfrew. Despite the new standalone store, sales at the Holts concession are said to have remained stable, speaking to a market expansion for the luxury Vuitton brand in the mall. 

Jewellery brands are said to be doing gangbuster sales, although some luxury fashion retailers such as Alexander McQueen and Valentino are said to not be meeting sales targets at Yorkdale. Regardless, the offering of luxury brands at Yorkdale are unmatched in Canada, surpassing the offerings of Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville and downtown Vancouver in terms of the number of luxury brand stores available. 

More luxury and big brands will come to Yorkdale over the next couple of years with plans to “re-merchandise key corridors to make room for more brands,” according to Oxford Properties. There’s already buzz that more than one big-name concession could exit Yorkdale’s Holt Renfrew store to open a standalone flagship presence in the mall. 

Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana will soon join other luxury brands near Holt Renfrew at Yorkdale. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.
Central corridor at Yorkdale — sources say interesting new things will be coming to this wing with details to follow. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.
Another new retailer set to open at Yorkdale. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.

The Holt Renfrew store at Yorkdale is said to be the second top-performing location in the chain, surpassed only by the highly productive downtown Vancouver flagship store at CF Pacific Centre. The Yorkdale Holt Renfrew store will be seeing some changes, according to the retailer — the store’s restaurant will shut next month and phased renovations to part of the store are expected to be completed by mid-2025. More details will follow according to Holts. 

Yorkdale is also anchored by one of Hudson’s Bay’s top stores, located in a box that originally housed a Simpsons department store until 1991. Anchor Nordstrom, which opened in 2016, will shut this summer and its receiver is currently advertising a clearance sale to coincide with the retailer’s exit from Canada. One big loss is the closure of a Delvaux concession at Nordstrom — the Belgian luxury brand is considered to be one of the top in the world in terms of quality (with prices to match), and it remains to be seen if Delvaux will move either into Holt Renfrew or open any standalone stores in Canada.

Yorkdale’s first luxury wing leads to the main entrance of Holt Renfrew. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.
Looking down into the mall from the second floor of Holt Renfrew Yorkdale. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.
Chanel will soon open an elevated boutique beauty space at Holt Renfrew Yorkdale. Photo: Dustin Fuhs.

Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre is in a constant state of flux with new retailers and other offerings continually being added to the mix. Retail Insider will continue to report on new stores as the dynamic centre continues with its transformation. 

The ICSC study listed other top shopping centres in Canada in terms of sales per square foot in 2022. Other malls in the top five included CF Pacific Centre in downtown Vancouver at $1,678 per square foot, CF Toronto Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto at $1,367 per square foot, CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto at $1,245 per square foot, and Square One in Mississauga which saw sales of $1,226 per square foot last year. Yorkdale ranked fourth in North America according to ICSC, with three shopping centres in the US surpassing Yorkdale’s sales per square foot numbers last year.

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

1 COMMENT

  1. Incredible figures from Yorkdale. $2 billion in sales in this digital ecommerce age is an outrageous success. Truly a class of its own. Very curious what will backfill Nordstrom. A centre like Yorkdale should have the pick of the litter from prospective tenants. With so much success and demand Oxford can likely solicit any tenant it wants. The “retail apocalypse” is certainly overexaggerated.

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