The first Forever 21 store opened in Winnipeg in 2011 at Polo Park Shopping Centre. It’s a massive 34,000 sqft retail space and crowds lined up as early as 2:00am to go inside. It was later joined by a 26,000 sqft Forever 21 ‘Red’ store at the Outlet Collection of Winnipeg in 2017.
Now all 44 stores in Canada will close as the U.S. struggles into bankruptcy. No word on how the Canadian stores were doing but it would not be the first times stores were closed in Canada to save the U.S. stores. Hello, Sears.
For Polo Park this represents a major blow. Both Kildonan Place and St. Vital Mall are going through multi-million developments to fill the Sears closures and re-fresh the malls. Garden City has already addressed their Sears problem and malls like Northgate have worked on the Zellers/Target closures.
Polo Park has done nothing with their former Sears location yet and will go another Christmas without filling the spot of a major anchor. Now, another huge store is closing. Three malls in town have added fitness centers generally in the 30,000 square feet range. As far as Sears goes with its 300,000 square feet… who knows.
Retail as we know it is changing fast. Expect housing to go up in malls, on top of malls and on mall parking lots fast.
This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations