Canada Faces Increased International Competition for Retail Expansion Dollars: Report

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A new report by CBRE finds that although foreign retailers continue to enter the Canadian market, they're doing so less than before. As global markets have largely recovered from the recession, international retailers now have an increased number of expansion opportunities to consider. The report, entitled How Global is the Business of Retail, analyzes 334 leading retailers in 61 countries. The report suggests that the Canadian retail market recorded fewer new entrants last year than the year before. 

The report notes that in 2012, Canada ranked sixth in the world for the most new foreign retail entrants. Toronto was listed amongst the twenty most targeted cities. In 2013, Canada no longer ranked among the countries attracting the most new retailers, and it did not have a city ranked among the top 20 most targeted markets. 

Canada still ranks highly, however, in terms of the variety of global retailers that are present in cities. In 2013, Canada had 35% of global retailers present, enough for us to rank 20th in the world. Comparing city-by-city retailer penetration rates, Toronto slipped from 37th to 38th place, Vancouver jumped from 56th to 51st place, Calgary climbed one spot to 76th, and Montreal remained at 83rd place. 

Last year, the bulk of new international entrants were in the luxury and fashion categories. Homewares and food were the other active categories. 

“While Canada remains an appealing destination for global retailers, our competitors are catching up and Canada has had to relinquish our unusually large share of the spotlight,” said Ross Moore, Director of Research for CBRE in Canada. “One reason for the decrease in new retailers coming to Canada is that there is little to no vacancy in highly sought after shopping centres and high street locations. It is only natural for there to be a pause while developers and supply chains adjust to the influx of brands from years past.”

“The retailers that entered Canada with a limited number of stores have been busy expanding their footprint across the country,” Moore added. “No longer satisfied with a single location, usually in Toronto, we have seen retailers pursue opportunities in Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal. As a result, most Canadian cities had their rankings improve in terms of overall retailer representation.”


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