Which Malls Will Survive?

Despite ongoing challenges, Canadian shopping centers continue to spend billions on expansions and improvements, and have actually managed to outdo their American counterparts. While bigger malls continue to expand, many of the smaller ones are disappearing in front of our eyes. Another new mall trend is offering higher caliber food and beverages at more sophisticated restaurants and bars, instead of the old-school food courts. Elegance and high standards have become a new attraction. In addition, the washrooms are more aesthetically pleasing! Increased comfortable seating and free Wifi are the norm in most malls, along with improved parking solutions, concierges, and personal shoppers. The concept of the malls of the past has changed drastically. “While e-commerce has taken a bite out of brick-and-mortar retail, shopping centers are also taking advantage of technology to make parking easier and utilizing it through such things as touchscreen navigation panels, virtual fitting rooms, augmented reality areas and click-and-collect zones,” reported Property Biz Canada.

Movie theaters in malls are not attracting enough customers, so Cineplex started launching larger complexes that provide a large variety of games and activities. Two examples are Cineplex’s REC Room, which was just built last year, and Dave & Buster’s, which is a U.S.chain.

With the drastic changes at Yorkdale over the past 10 years, the mall has gone from grungy to extremely sophisticated. They’ve just announced a massive extension to add a boutique hotel, office spaces, and condos. According to Property Biz Canada, “There are plans to add residential towers to Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Bayview Village, and Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre will eventually see thousands of residents living in multiple towers directly above an overhauled and expanded shopping center podium.” This turnaround makes complete business sense, as big malls are usually located in prime locations, with transit and plentiful amenities nearby.

“Three of Canada’s busiest malls (CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Vancouver’s CF Pacific Centre and Ottawa’s CF Rideau Centre) are in downtown cores. None of the top 10 U.S. malls are downtown,” notes Property Biz Canada. They attribute the growing success of Canadian malls over U.S. malls to a variety of factors, including stronger urban cores in Canada, with investment priorities, transit availability, a large downtown population concentration and diversity of people compared to most cities south of our border.

In the future, the smaller or older locations are likely to suffer in the upcoming years. “The biggest cities and the best malls are going to succeed, but that’s not always going to be the case for all of Canada,” says Property Biz Canada. Now, we just have to wait to see what stores expand and which retailers we lose.

Source: Property Biz Canada

Which Canadian malls are going to make it through 2018? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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