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Sherway Gardens Finishes Newest Phase Of Renovations

Toronto Retail

Malls are dying

You would not know it in Toronto, where malls like Woodbine, the CF Toronto Eaton Centre and CF Sherway Gardens continue to expand and adapt to the ever-changing consumer market. 

Nordstrom, opening this month, is one of Sherway Garden's newest tenants.

“The bricks-and-mortar retail experience is not going away,” said Senior Vice President of Development Finley McEwen of Cadillac Fairview, which owns CF Sherway Gardens.

“CF is well-positioned to adapt to changing consumer behaviours and patterns and has a dynamic approach to anticipate and even create retail trends.”

The Etobicoke mall just completed Phase 3 of a $550K redevelopment. Upgrades included the addition of 250K SF, additional parking, exterior property upgrades, new retailers, a new gourmet-style food court and the addition of high-end department stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.

Sherway is one of several Toronto malls undergoing massive renovations aimed at attracting and keeping customers in the new online shopping universe. 

CF Toronto Eaton Centre

"By continuing to attract these premium brands, CF Sherway Gardens is able to remain a niche shopping centre among a competitive retail landscape,” McEwen said. “We’re always looking for ways to improve our customer experience while also [attracting] new shoppers.”

Not far away, Woodbine Mall is undergoing a multibillion-dollar renovation of its own, adding new high-end stores, outdoor stages, a condo complex and animatronic dinosaurs, among other upgrades. 

At the CF Toronto Eaton Centre, which attracts more than 50 million shoppers each year, a new pedestrian bridge was just installed to connect the main mall to the new Saks Fifth Avenue outlet.

“The top malls seem to have things in common,” Retail Council of Canada research consultant Craig Patterson said.

“Fancy new food courts, entertainment, high ceilings and high-end stores. Sherway is a little different. Customers are typically coming by car. Its number of visitors per year is not as high as other malls. They rely on repeat customers.”

Retail Council of Canada research consultant Craig Patterson

Patterson discounted the theory that malls are dying. In the council’s 2016 Canadian Shopping Centre Study, he found Canadian malls are doing quite well — sometimes better than their American counterparts.

“It really depends on what mall you are talking about. If it’s one that has been getting less attention over the years, less investment, then they are not doing quite as well,” Patterson said.

The study found malls in the GTA are among the most successful in Canada on a sales per square foot scale. Both the Yorkdale Shopping Centre ($1,650.85 sales/SF) and the Eaton Centre ($1,488/SF) landed among Canada’s top five most productive malls. Sherway sat just outside the top 10 at $989 in sales/SF. 

Patterson said the trend toward high-end department stores is just that — a trend. And trends can end. 

"It seems like malls are going upscale and with some success,” he said. “But I think there will be a time in a few years where maybe there will be too much luxury in malls.”