Geodemographic Visualisation of Foreign Upscale Retail in Canada’s Major Cities

Authors: Stephen Swales*, Ryerson University, K. Wayne Forsythe, Ryerson University, Nicole Serrafero, Ryerson University
Topics: Business Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Applied Geography
Keywords: geodemographics, business geography, upscale retail, Canadian cities
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Bacchus, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor


As a surge of upscale foreign retailers arrives in Canada we investigate their target markets in Canada’s largest cities. Several waves of foreign retailers have targeted Canada in the past, the latest is distinctive in its upscale composition. Approximately 260 stores representing 47 different retail brands are identified in this study with notable spatial clusters in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa. Traditional suburban shopping centres and major downtown malls are favoured by these foreign retailers but upscale retail strips and outlet malls are also included. Census variables and K-means cluster analysis are used with geographic information systems (GIS) to both characterise and visualise a target market cluster in Canada’s major cities. The target cluster has strong income, education, family, age and ethnic characteristics. Distinctive spatial patterns emerge for the target cluster, both informing the existing location strategy of foreign upscale retail and suggesting opportunities for expansion.

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