Alberta had total retail sales of $80.32 billion in 2017, up 6.48% from the previous year: Colliers report

Mario ToneguzziCanadian landlords need to evaluate various options in response to Sears vacancies and additional challenges in the wake of the closures of Target, Future Shop and others, says the new Spring Retail Report by Colliers International.

The report said those options include: backfilling with another anchor tenant; replicating the anchor effect with several smaller, more productive tenants; and considering the non-retail potential for the vacant space.

“The casual observer of the retail sector, or even seasoned experts, would be forgiven for sounding the alarm bells and worrying that the so-called anchor effect is no longer relevant in shopping centres,” said Colliers. “With several high-profile retail anchor tenants going dark over the last few years, are there any legitimate brands ready to fill the vacancies left behind?

“The bottom-line for Canadian shopping centres is that there are options when anchor tenants go dark. None of the options are easy, and it will take all of the creativity of leasing and development teams to make it work. It will be essential to ensure the customer profile of the new anchor tenant aligns with the customer profiles of surrounding CRUs (commercial retail units). If done correctly, the end result may be a stronger, more valuable property, and a strategy to be ready to take on the next big vacancy when it inevitably comes.”

The Colliers report said Alberta had total retail sales of $80.32 billion in 2017, which was up 6.48 per cent from the previous year.

Total national retail sales of $588.83 billion were 6.46 per cent more than 2016.

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

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