The Redevelopment of Shopping Centres amid Retail Disruption: Evidence from Canada

Authors: Tony Hernandez*, Ryerson University
Topics: Business Geography
Keywords: Retail, Canada, Shopping
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/9/2020
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Plaza Court 6, Sheraton, Concourse Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Online retailing and associated omnichannel shopping behaviours have widely led to the media heralding a new era for the shopping centre industry - the retail apocalypse. While there is no clear consensus as to the future for retail, the prevailing storyline, largely from the US and Europe, has been framed as the death of the mall, with virtual digital shopping channels replacing physical brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers and service firms have been reassessing the space needs of their store (offline) networks and, in turn, shopping centre landlords, owners, commercial real estate developers and investors have had to re-examine the scale, function and form of the commercial spaces within their property and investment portfolios. This paper delves beneath the sensationalist headlines and examines the actual changes taking place within shopping centre industry within Canada. Based on a preliminary data-gathering exercise, the shopping centre inventory and planning data presented highlights that shopping centre space in Canada is undergoing a wave of transformation with widespread redevelopment, adaptive re-use and mixed-use development as the emerging real estate trends. These developments have also led to a renewed interest in shopping centres by urban planners and policy-makers at various levels of government and the growing need for data-driven metrics and objective analysis of the nature, extent and spatial distribution of the transformation. The paper concludes by discussing possible future trajectories for the shopping centre industry in Canada.

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