Canada Continues to Attract Top US and International Retail Chains

February 11, 2011

The cat is out of the bag.

Canada has become a growth vehicle for US and International retailers, who are now entering the market in droves.

Several retailers have announced that they will open their first Canadian locations in 2011. They include J Crew, Express, Dick Sporting Goods, Zumiez, Intermix, PF Changs, Juicy Couture, 7 For All Mankind…etc.

As noted in my blog last week, the reasons for the recent invasion are plentiful.

Not to be redundant, and because we all appreciate being bottom lined. The main factor behind the newfound love affair with Canada is simple. Canadian retail divisions outperform their international and US counterparts, in both sales and profits.

I've listed four (4) articles for your review, that I trust you will find of interest.

1) Flagship Shops flock to Vancouver - Globe and Mail
2) How Yorkdale got its groove back  - The Toronto Star
3) Alberta retail sales grow more than the rest of the country - Calgary Herald
4) Quebecer's personal disposable income grew in 2010, as did retail sales - Montreal Gazette

Retail and economic growth are pervasive throughout Canada and not isolated in selected smaller pockets. These articles illustrate the strength of several Canadian markets such as Vancouver, Alberta, Toronto, and Montreal.  

I have just begun preparations for my trip to Los Angeles next week, where I will be meeting with Pinkberry's real estate director, Elizabeth Hanauer, company CEO Ron Graves and the rest of the Pinkberry team. At this meeting, we will be reviewing and assessing several high profile real estate opportunities. I will hope to announce next week, the location of Canada's 1st Pinkberry. Notwithstanding, I can now confirm that not only was Vancouver the host of the last year's winter Olympics, but it will be home to the country's 1st Pinkberry.

My company Think Retail specializes in working with US and international retailers looking to expand into Canada. We have developed a formula which is result driven and value added.We provide our clients with information, demographics, sales trends and an array of other timely and key services (such as referrals to designers, architects, lawyers, contractors...etc) . Once an action plan is approved, and sites have been identified, we will quickly bring forward numerous flagship real estate opportunities (many of which that never reach market) that frequently become high volume, high profit, cornerstone locations.

Last year we successfully developed and managed the Canadian entry program\strategy for cookware icon, Le Creuset, who opened its 1st Canadian location (on August 19) at Chinook Centre (Alberta's top performing super-regional shopping centre). To date the store has been wonderfully received by Albertan shoppers and sales are 23% above budget. Mall landlord, Cadillac Fairview are justifiably impressed. In this regard, I am pleased to announce that Le Creuset's 2nd Canadian location opens in early summer at Sherway Gardens in Toronto (another Cadillac Fairview Mall). Sales for Sherway and Chinook Centre exceed $900 psf.

We also worked closely with ladies active wear manufacturer, Lole, who opened their 1st Canadian store on St Denis st in Montreal. To date, the results to date, have been fantastic. We are now near to announcing the locations for three (3) additional Lole stores, including the company's first stores in Toronto.

We have developed a very compelling story in Canada and I think you should give immediate consideration to expanding your business into Canada. Furthermore, with recovery in the US still on a slow burn, your capex would be far better (and I mean far better) spent north of the border.

I would be very pleased to exchange ideas and information on the Canadian retail\real estate climate, and map out how Think Retail can assist you with your Canadian expansion.

Please feel free to contact me at anytime.