No More Cross-Border Shopping?
Yesterday’s confirmation of the list of 102 retailers setting up at Ivanhoe Cambridge’s Outlet Collection in Niagara Falls plus the news that Ivanhoe is developing another Outlet Collection (this one in Winnipeg) has industry people wondering what’s next for outlet malls in Canada. (And the future of style in Toronto.)
Since the overwhelming response both from the consumer and retailer point of view to Simon Property Group’s and Calloway REIT’s Toronto Premium Outlets at the 401 and Trafalgar (remember the traffic snarl-ups last summer?), there has been steady series of announcements of new developments. Canadian shoppers—and name retailers—have finally developed an appetite for the product, says Cushman & Wakefield’s senior managing director John Crombie, who is their national head of retail.
John was front and centre in the Halton Hills Simon/Calloway development. Simon has another project under construction for north of Montreal. Cookstown has one now (RioCan partnered with Tanger Factory Outlet Centres, a US outfit, to buy that one)—soon to be 320k SF of brand name stores selling deeply discounted merchandise. (So it's relatively safe to let your teenagers loose there.) There are centres in Edmonton and Vancouver. As a developer, Ivanhoe is wasting no time carving out their niche, with the Niagara opening scheduled for May 15. Ivanhoe EVP Paul Gleeson has said retailers’ perception of outlet malls in Canada has changed, a product that doesn’t need to be anchored by a Sears or Bay. He sees expansion for three to five more in Canada.
Snapped is Calloway’s Huw Thomas, Premium Outlets’ John Klein and Halton Hills mayor Rick Bonnette at last summer’s opening. Outlet malls on the outskirts of Canada’s big cities is where smart developer money is going. Now there's yesterday’s two announcements (the tenant list for Ivanhoe’s 520k SF Niagara project includes several first-in-Canada outlets—including the first Bass Pro Shops Outlet concept store, the first Pandora Outlet, and the first White House Black Market Outlet).
John says the guessing game now is where the next developer will land with the next GTA site. John’s of the opinion that the GTA has room for at least one more. However, what’s the point where enough is enough, and the GTA market is saturated for this product? “You need at least 100 stores and 350k SF to make it worthwhile for a consumer to make the drive,” John tells Bisnow. (Unless they are desperate to get out of the house because the kids are driving them crazy and the cable's always broken... just speculating.) “It’s got to be close enough to the city, but far enough away from the full-priced stores.” So there’s a sensitivity on distance, making it a challenge to find future sites. John says the Halton Hills opening was among the best Simon ever experienced in any of its North American projects—20% higher car traffic on opening day, currently ranked among the top 15 in their portfolio. In the image is the Niagara project.