This weekend, I stumbled onto a blog that covers all things retail in Canada. For those of you who know me, you know how I spent the rest of the weekend.
Among the interesting tidbits I learned combing through 18 months of coverage:
- What’s the number one activity for travellers visiting Canada? Shopping. Interest is 14% higher than sightseeing (number two activity) and 36% higher than visiting family (number three activity).
That surprises me; even the Canadian government says that prices are high here compared to the US. And 60 percent of those visitors merely cross the border from the US. Perhaps all of the visitors are visiting the behemoth of Edmonton.
- Greater Montreal will soon have its own Premium Outlets (the best brand in outlet shopping). Montreal Premium Outlets are located in the town of Mirabel, about 30 km north of the city (and not in the old airport). According to the Retail Insider, possible tenants include outlets from HBC, Ralph Lauren, and Max Mara. Now I wonder who will fill the 77 other spots. The new complex will open some time in 2014 and will be reached through a new exit off of Autoroute 15 north.
- Saks is coming to town. The Retail Insider speculates that the luxury retailer will carve space out of the Hudson Bay stores at the Ste-Catherine or Carrefour Laval. I don’t know where it would go in Laval? They just opened a two-story Topshop/Topman store-within-a-store by dropping the housewares department, second floor washrooms, and always-empty cafeteria. I’m not sure what else they can drop unless they go to self-service check out. The Ste-Catherine Street Hudson’s Bay store, on the other hand, has tons of space. They could carve a Saks out of one of the many additions to the building.
- Speaking of Ste-Catherine Street, it’s the third most expensive retail spot in Canada. According to the Retail Insider, rents are $200/square foot. Rue de la Montagne (a side street off of Ste-Catherine) commands the tenth highest rents ($60/square foot) as does Greene Avenue in Westmount (number eleven). Greene Avenue is nice but not quite sure why it commands top dollar.
- The most expensive rents in Canada are at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto, which is apparently not only the most “productive” mall in Canada but all of North America, taking the top spot from one of my favorites—South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa (Orange County), California. And Yorkdale doesn’t have a Macy’s Home Store, Container Store (admittedly in an outbuilding), or Z Gallerie. In fact, 9 of the top 15 malls in North America are in Canada.
- Speaking of Yorkdale, Zara Home opened its first store in North America at the mall a couple of months ago. The second (and larger) store opened at Carrefour Laval a few weeks ago. Even on this side of the ocean, I don’t understand that store but apparently, I’m not the kind of shopper who buys 5 place settings of garish faux gold silverware on impulse as well as by the piece.
- Finally, Kleinfeld’s—the store that hosts the original Say Yes to the Dress (that educational series on The Learning Channel (the meaning of the TLC acronym)—are opening an outpost at the Hudson’s Bay store on Queen Street in Toronto. Does that mean we’ll be seeing a Say Yes to the Dress Canada show soon?
Learn more about these and other retail developments at www.retail-insider.com.