CF Chinook Centre in Calgary Undergoes Major Revamp with 35 New, Relocated, or Renovated Tenants in One Year [Interview]


Share post:

CF Chinook Centre in Calgary is one of the country’s busiest and most productive malls and it continues to evolve and change to meet the growing needs and desires of local and regional consumers.

Darren Milne, General Manager of Chinook, said there’s been quite a number of new tenants along with renovations and relocations in the past year.

Darren Milne

“For some context, we have 240 tenants right now so to have 35 new, relocated or renovated tenants in a year is quite significant,” he said.

Here’s what’s happened since November 1, 2022:

  • 12 new tenants: Athleta, Token, Stuffies, Herschel, Mejuri, Jo Malone, Glambar Bazaar, RW&Co, Nike, Alo Yoga, Crepe Delicious, and Uniqlo;
  • 13 relocations with a new store build out: Bentley, Call it Spring, Peloton, Chatters, Birks, Pandora, Jack & Jones, Stitch It, Torrid, Victoria’s Secret, Maxime’s, Zumiez, Bell; and 
  • 7 renovations: Kiehls, Footlocker, L’Occitaine, Le Creuset, Michael Hill, Call it Spring, Burberry.

Still to come by the end of this year is Swatch as a new tenant, the opening of the new Zara expansion and renovation and a renovation at Ben Moss.

Uniqlo Signage at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)

Recently the big buzz at Chinook has been the frenzy around the opening of the Uniqlo store on August 25.

“The response to Uniqlo has been huge. The day they opened as Uniqlo reported, they had 2,000 people in line. They had a lineup pretty much the entire day and so it was about a 90-minute wait to get into the store the entire day,” said Milne.

“That was the Friday and then even on the Saturday they still had a line for people to get in and their sales and traffic have been consistent ever since. It was really clear that Uniqlo was a tenant that Calgarians wanted to have and they obviously have been supporting them that well.”

Milne said there are a couple of reasons why so many new tenants are coming to Chinook.

“If you think about it in the context of COVID the industry as a whole saw a lot of bankruptcies. That was probably good in the sense that a lot of companies were able to clean up their balance sheets and then come out of bankruptcy in a stronger position,” he said. “We’ve been a beneficiary of them being the first choice for tenants when they want to come to Calgary.

“The second piece of that is not only are we the first choice but we’re having more national and international retailers who are expanding into Canada. So if you think about that, Alo Yoga making a move out of the U.S. into Canada. We were one of their first stores that they wanted to get open as well. And sometimes because we have such high occupancy we can’t always get the tenants in on the same timeline they want to be in. But we still generally find a way to have them here as a tenant. 

“Uniqlo was the same. They wanted to be here earlier and we just needed to do a whole bunch of movement in order to create space for them. I think we’re just seeing a lot of demand for the Centre as a result of both the performance of the shopping centre and the fact that more retail companies are looking to do stores and either grow within Canada or come into Canada.”

Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants represents Uniqlo in Canada and negotiated the Canadian store leases, including the new Calgary location. SAJO design-built the Calgary Uniqlo store store.

Nike at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)

Milne said sales productivity at Chinook over the past year has grown exponentially.

“It’s been really, really strong. In part I think because we’ve had all these new tenants and they are tenants who are in demand. In part because Calgarians specifically still have a good level of disposable income and are looking to come and do their shopping here. Traffic continues to move up and continues to be really strong as well,” he said. “Sales are outpacing traffic growth.

“We’re always thinking about what the future looks like in terms of sales and traffic but we still feel really positive about the Calgary market.”

Milne said the shopping centre expects, probably in the new year, to announce a couple of new tenants. Also in 2024, there will be more “right-sizing” of tenants with more relocations.

“When you start to look at just the economic impact of that construction, you think about the 35 stores that have been touched here in the last 12 months between new stores, renovations or relocations, the construction value is significant and the number of jobs that creates is significant. It’s really positive,” he said.

“I would say in the near term the next big launch at Chinook will be when Zara reopens. They’re expanding in place and almost doubling in size. So that’s going to be a big store that will be open here before the end of the year.”

Future Swatch at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)

With the departure of American retailer Nordstrom from the Canadian market, Chinook Centre like other major malls in the country suddenly had some huge vacant real estate space.

“Nordstrom just disclaimed the lease in late in July. So it’s only been a few months that we’ve actually known we were going to get the real estate back. So we’re actively planning for it. There’s nothing to announce on it yet but we’ll continue to push that forward and plan to have a tenant there that Calgarians are going to want,” said Milne.

“I don’t mean to sound like it’s one tenant or two but I think we’ve got some thoughts on what that could be. We just haven’t settled on a direction yet.”

Additional Photos from CF Chinook Centre

Uniqlo Signage at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Uniqlo at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Athleta at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Pink at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Victoria’s Secret at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Victoria’s Secret at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Rolex at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Le Creuset at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Peloton at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
The Latest Scoop at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Rocky Mountain Soap Co. at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
Uniqlo Signage at CF Chinook Centre (Image: Mario Toneguzzi)
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. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.


  1. I was just in Chinook Mall yesterday and was in Saks , it seems they have cut the store in half , menswear has been reduced significantly and is now basically a corner on the 2nd floor . What is happening there ?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author



Subscribe to the Newsletter


* indicates required

Related articles

Modern Golf Opening Innovative Golf Social Experience in Downtown Toronto’s First Canadian Place [Interview]

The 8,500-square-foot Financial District space will feature multiple bays, bars, lounge areas, and partnerships with Food Dudes for food and beverage offerings, marking a significant shift in the company's growth strategy.

Wendy’s Bold Dynamic Pricing Move Has its Positives and Negatives [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses the unusual move by Wendy's in the US to implement dynamic pricing, and how it could benefit the business while potentially turning off consumers.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Gears Up for Nationwide Expansion in Canada with Innovative Store Formats [Interview]

New locations in new markets are planned, including a mix of Doughnut Café concepts and manufacturing locations for the public called 'Theatre Hubs'.

Robson Street in Vancouver in Flux as New Retailers Prepare to Open Stores [Feature]

The street is seeing new retailers prepare to open, including a prominent corner that is about to see some very big changes and a potential luxury mall nearby cancelled.

Growing Crisis in Retail Inventory in Canada as Factory Direct Liquidates Stores [Interview]

The founder of A.D. Hennick & Associates says he's seeing overwhelming demand to liquidate inventory, indicating a concerning trend in the industry as more retailers look to insolvency.

Here’s What We Can Learn from Canada’s Response to Inflation in the 1980s and 1990s [Op-Ed]

Younger, poorer households have disproportionately suffered because their price index is skewed more toward food and shelter, say the authors.

Food Preferences in Canada Changing as Millennial and Gen Z Demographics Shift [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois discusses Canada's aging population and how younger consumers are shifting the grocery food landscape.

Henry Singer Unveils Downtown Edmonton Flagship Store at the ICE District, Featuring a Bar, Barber and Shoe Shine [Photos/Interview]

Jordan Singer discusses how the upscale menswear retailer recently relocated its Edmonton flagship store from Manulife Place into a 10,000 square foot space at the base of Western Canada's tallest building.

Canadian Retail Sales Dip: Year-End Drop in Discretionary Spending [J.C. Williams Group Analysis]

2023 Canadian retail sales ended in a lacklustre way, with controlled consumer spending amid a tumultuous year.

Landlord QuadReal Launches Pickleball Courts in Commercial Properties to Create Consumer Experience [Interview/Photos]

The initiative helps revitalize and re-imagine spaces using sustainable development practices, while incorporating the latest technology to enhance the visitor experience, blending physical and digital elements.

Canadian Consumers Willing to Switch Grocery Stores while Seeking Bargains: Study [Op-Ed]

Sylvain Charlebois says that a new survey offers a rigorous look into the preferences and behaviours shaping the future of grocery shopping in Canada.

Iconic Flo’s Diner in Toronto’s Yorkville Forced to Close After 33 Years Amid Landlord Dispute 

Retail Insider interviewed Flo’s co-owner who discusses the “heart wrenching” situation where he is being forced to close his business that began on Bellair Street in 1991.