The Evolution of Major Shopping Centres in Canada: 1996 - 2013
By Shirley Lau and Dr. Tony Hernandez
In 2009, the CSCA reported findings from a major study focused on detailing the changes that had taken place between 1996 to 2006 within a cross-section of 40 major shopping centres across Canada (Hernandez & Du, 2009). In this report we provide an update to our earlier study by extending the time frame of analysis to span the period 1996 to 2013. The analysis presented highlights how the Canadian major shopping centre landscape has evolved over time reflecting broader trends within the retail industry. Comparing data across four snap-shots in time (1996, 2001, 2006 and 2013) the study reveals how major shopping centres have increasingly accommodated large and mid-size format retailers and functionally reconfigured retail space both internal and external to the centre. The report presents a variety of metrics, including: tenant mix, store size, vacancy and tenant survival rates. The data collectively underlines the intricate evolutionary nature of shopping centre management and the ever-present demands placed on management to keep front-and-centre in the mindset of their customer base. By continuing to track major shopping centres in Canada we clearly see how they have both evolved to maintain their currency with consumers and sought to maximize the sizeable grounded capital that they represent. As the debate as to the future of the shopping centre in an era of omni-channel retailing has intensified, the data in this study characterizes major shopping centres as evolving organisms that have changed through processes of adaptation.