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The Canadian 'Big Middle' and Retail Competition


The Canadian 'Big Middle' and Retail Competition

By Dr. Maurice Yeates and Dr. Tony Hernandez

A recent industry report on commercial real estate trends suggested that ‘middle players’ in the retail industry are being squeezed at the high price end by the growth of ‘luxury retail’ and at the low price end by companies in ‘value retail’. The elusive basis of this observation lies in the notion of the competitive ‘Big Middle’, which is defined by Levy et al. as the “… marketspace in which the largest retailers compete in the long run because this is where the largest number of potential consumers reside”. The term ‘marketspace’ in this context includes businesses that operate in: a ‘marketplace’, that is a location where there is physical interaction between a seller and a buyer; a combined ‘marketplace’ and E-Retail4 digital transaction space; and, just an E-Retail space.

This report investigates if the ‘Big Middle’ is strong in Canada, or if it is under pressure from growth at the high and low price ends of the retail spectrum?

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