The Retail Council of Canada released their analysis of the Canadian mall market ending in December and once again CF Polo Park ranks high in their top 30 coming in number 16.
The list is ranked based on sales per square feet.
It is very likely that Sears is the major drag on why Manitoba’s biggest mall does not stand higher. The struggling retailer occupied a lot of space but sales, pedestrian traffic and productivity affects Polo park and St. Vital Centre dramatically.
Polo Park is the only mall to rank in the top 30 between Ontario and Alberta. Nearly all the top malls including Polo Park have experienced recent renovations or expansions. In the case of Polo Park, it was the 22 stores added in the old Zellers location in the past 3 years and the several stores added where Safeway once stood. Harry Rosen also had an expensive makeover.
All the top malls were located in urban centers, tourist areas and near mass transit. Polo Park is in the provinces largest city, one of the biggest tourist draws and has a major bus hub. Winnipeg has few high end retailers despite a higher median income than the Vancouver area. This may speak to the city being less of a tourist attraction than the coast.
Polo Park bought the the recently built former Target store north of the Scotiabank movie theatres. Rumour has swirled that Cineplex Odeon has their eyes set on a space in the parking lot for their Rec Centre entertainment complex. The mall seems to be in no hurry to lease the space and a number of retailers have kicked the tires including Nordstrom, Simons and Canadian Tire. In the case of the first two, they might be on Sears deathwatch as the old retailer continues to wheeze to a possible shutdown. The 300,000 stores will be highly sought after.
In all likelihood, Polo Park will rise in the ranks but not until the Sears issue is resolved.
This has been an editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations