Despite some recent high-profile closures in Canada, an industry observer assured that the nation’s retail segment is not plunging into certain doom just yet.
Retail Council of Canada senior advisor Michael LeBlanc noted that while multiple closures by top brands such as Bench and Lowe’s might be cause for serious concern, these recent retreats do not indicate the retail sector’s lack of viability.
“I don’t think the broader industry is at risk; it isn’t a retail apocalypse,” LeBlanc said in an interview with the Financial Post.
“There are people exiting stores and opening stores. There are people saying they’re better off just online. And there are people saying they need physical stores to entice customers and articulate their brand.”
The Retail Council of Canada highlighted this point in its recent study of the shopping mall sector.
As of the end of June 2019, 11 shopping centres nationwide had their annual average sales per square foot figure exceed $1,000. The Council predicted that this year, the figure could increase to as much as 14 centres across Canada.
Contrary to fears of e-commerce phasing out retail spaces into irrelevance, “shopping centre owners are listening carefully to consumers’ desire for easier access, more simplicity, greater convenience and fabulous shopping experiences,” the Council noted.
“Not only are Canada’s top malls continuing to make substantial capital investments to meet consumers’ hunger for retail innovation, enterprising landlords are also looking at unprecedented ways to add value and expand productivity, through impressive mall renovations and increasingly with easily accessible and integrated ‘live, work, play and shop’ developments,” Council president and CEO Diane Brisebois added.