The Retail Council of Canada has released its   annual  report  on how Canada’s shopping malls are doing. Canada’s top malls continue to thrive, but “disruption and re-invention” has been key while “e-commerce” (the Amazoning of retail space) continues to grow. With Sears Canada declaring bankruptcy there’s going to be over 15 million square feet of space available in malls across Canada. That’s the size of fifteen Tsawwassen Mills mega malls.

The report notes that shopping centres are now featuring “food halls” and full-sized restaurants, and are creating “experiences” that are entertaining and enjoyable. Pop up retail is continuing in popularity, and some of the top mall developers are reviewing options to add housing and other institutions to their shopping mall locations.

 Of the top thirty malls in Canada, eight of them have sales of over $1,000 a square foot with Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre ranked first with the highest annual sales per square foot. Eleven of the top 30 malls are in the Greater Toronto Area, and seven are in the Greater Vancouver area “making it the top region per capita for the most productive malls in the country.”  Newcomer Tsawwassen Mills owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge is not included in this stable, as Ivanhoe Cambridge is not releasing statistics on the mall’s performance. Oakridge, Pacific Centre, Metropolis, Richmond,Guilford, Park Royal and Coquitlam shopping centres are in the top thirty for sales by square foot.

What is interesting is that most of these high achieving locations are not suburban malls, but are in urban locations close by density and good transit accessibility to shops and services. Four of the busiest malls nationally are in urban cores-Toronto Eaton’s Centre, Vancouver’s Pacific Centre, the Rideau Centre and the CORE shopping centre in Calgary.  As the report notes “In the United States, none of the country’s top 10 malls are downtown. This can be attributed to factors including stronger urban cores in Canada as well as a combination of history, culture, downtown population concentration and mix, investment priorities, and transit access when compared to most cities south of the border.” 

While Oakridge makes the most of B.C. malls at $1,579.00 per square foot, the lowest performing  B.C. mall in the top thirty, Coquitlam reaps $879.00 per square foot. Compare that with the early indicators from Tsawwassen Mills which used to be available on the Ivanhoe Cambridge site, showing a meagre $279.00 per square foot on retail space. 

You can take a look at the report available here on pedestrian traffic to shopping malls and other details. The Metro Vancouver region continues to have the highest average total sales productivity in Canada with $1,051 per square foot. It will be interesting to see how Tsawwassen Mills built on the most arable floodplain farmland in Canada, away from density and good transit will stack up next to Vancouver’s high performance more urban malls once the developer releases the sales per square foot statistics.

Without any official stats on Tsawwassen Mills Price Tags Vancouver is sharing a  youtube video by Ivanhoe Cambridge. The video features a bunch of similar looking men, no women, no diversity as talking heads describing the developer’s philosophy and how this 1.2 million square foot mall was designed and built. It’s worth noting that in this video the talking heads state that the mall will be the centre of the community which “will build around it”. Here’s hoping they will share  Tsawwassen Mills’ retail statistics soon.