The Big Box, The Big Screen, The Flagship and Beyond: Impacts and Trends in the Greater Toronto Area
By Dr. Kenneth G. Jones and Dr. Michael J. Doucet
New format enterprises, known variously as category killers, superstores, big boxes and membership and warehouse clubs are found in forms ranging from free-standing single units to clusters of activity routinely identified as power centres and power/destination nodes, are now commonplace in the Canadian retail landscape, especially in the suburbs of our largest metropolitan areas.
By 1990, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) already was home to 93 such outlets, with a total of some 4.5 million square feet of space, or an average of 48,430 square feet per "box". To guage the early impacts of big-box and other new format retailers on large shopping centres in Metropolitan Toronto, we have chosen to focus on the fate of fifteen retail categories within eight large malls for which detailed tenant data was available for both 1992 and 1996.
As for trends, if the future of Canadian retailing can be glimpsed by gazing southward, then it is evident that at least three new developments are likely to emerge in the near future. This trio of likely occurrences relates to three distinct features of the retailing action/reaction system - new ideas/players, new locations, and couter-attacks by department stores and traditional shopping centres.