Tracking the Evolution of the Canadian Mall
By Dr. Tony Hernandez and Paul Du
In the late spring of 2008, the CSCA reported preliminary findings from a major study focused on detailing the changes that had taken place within a cross-section of major malls across Canada. This report builds on the preliminary findings and expands the sample of malls from the initial 20 to 40 major malls. The analysis presented highlights how the Canadian mall landscape has evolved over time reflecting broader trends within the retail industry. Comparing data across three snapshots in time (1996, 2001 and 2006), the study reveals how malls have increasingly accommodated large format retailers and functionally reconfigured retail space both internal and external to the mall. The report presents a variety of metrics, including the changing tenant mix, vacancy rates and survival rate of tenants. It highlights the dynamic of store openings, closures, relocations and the reconfiguration of mall space. The data collectively underlines the intricate nature of mall management and the ever-present demands placed on major malls to keep front-and-centre in the mindset of their customer base. By tracking major malls 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.