Paige O’Neill is general manager at CF Chinook Centre in Calgary. She spoke with Calgary’s Business about the current retail market at the popular shopping centre.
Calgary’s Business: What are Chinook’s most recent traffic and sales per square foot numbers compared with last year?
O’Neill: Traffic at CF Chinook Centre from January to March has been fairly flat over same time last year, experiencing -2 per cent down to +2 per cent up over the last three months, which is positive news in this slow recovery. Sales are a mirror image of the traffic, flat with similar fluctuations.
O’Neill: We’re in a fortunate position with the opening of the first Saks Fifth Avenue store in the marketplace, soon to be home to Louis Vuitton, Sephora just relocated to the upper level north expanding from 5,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet. Existing retailers are relocating and building new stores, which is a testament to their confidence in the property, Calgary and an economic turnaround.
CB: Can you explain what you’re doing to the food court area and the timeline for that?
O’Neill: We are renovating the now 18-year-old food court, transforming it into a more modern Dining Hall, with efficient seating layout, new seating – high tables, banquets – a fresh look and some new clients joining us with the current favourites. The south side is under construction and will reopen in June. As of June, the north side will be closed and then reopen in October. This renovation will transform the 18-year-old food court to help elevate the guests’ experience.
CB: What are the next new retailers to open at the shopping centre and when?
O’Neill: Louis Vuitton is opening this fall.
CB: Over recent years there have been plenty of changes in the retail mix at Chinook. Can you explain the mall’s philosophy about that?
O’Neill: Cadillac Fairview (which operates the shopping centre) strives to create win-win partnerships with retailers to ensure their success in each marketplace. We work with clients who resonate with guests, are innovative, often unique to market and complement/balance the existing retail mix. CF Chinook Centre will soon have eight full-service restaurants – Saks Buffo restaurant is opening mid May – along with the theatres, bowling centre and over 200 retailers, to create a well-rounded, one-stop shopping, dining and entertainment destination. We are committed and patient in our efforts to bring best-in-class retail clients to Calgary and CF Chinook Centre.
| Mario Toneguzzi
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