Canada will have North America's only mall with Walmart and a luxury anchor

Photo: Square One/Oxford Properties.

Photo: Square One/Oxford Properties.

Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre will become North America's only mall to feature both a luxury anchor and a Walmart store. A 120,000 square foot Holt Renfrew flagship is scheduled to open in the mall in the spring of 2016 and as far as we're aware, the mall's 225,000 square foot Walmart Supercentre will continue to operate. 

While researching this article, we examined every American mall anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barney's New York and Bloomingdale's stores. Not one mall includes Walmart. In Canada, there are currently no shopping malls anchored both by Walmart and Canada's luxury department store, Holt Renfrew. 

Holt Renfrew's new Square One store, opening in the spring of 2016. Rendering: Janson Goldstein architects.

Holt Renfrew's new Square One store, opening in the spring of 2016. Rendering: Janson Goldstein architects.

Most of America's better fashion malls include mid-to-upscale anchors. Some luxury-anchored American malls also have J.C. Penney and Sears as anchors, for example. Only two American malls, both in California, include both Target and a luxury anchor: Glendale Galleria is anchored by Bloomingdale's and Target, while Westfield Topanga features Neiman Marcus in the same mall as Target. 

Besides Walmart, Mississauga's Square One's current anchors include a 191,000 square foot Hudson's Bay store and a 164,000 square foot Target store. Until recently, a 145,000 square foot Sears store anchored the northwestern part of Square One. It will be replaced by a 113,000 square foot La Maison Simons, scheduled to open in the spring of 2016

Speculation persists that Square One's landlord, Oxford Properties, may seek to eventually remove Walmart from the mall. We're unaware of any plans to remove Square One's Walmart, especially as it's one of the store's top performers. 

Will Square One's mix of luxury and downscale anchors start a trend among North American shopping malls? We consulted with retail expert and acting Executive Director of the University of Alberta School of Retailing, Emily Salsbury. Ms. Salsbury noted that with most North American malls (especially those with luxury anchors), there is limited opportunity to add new anchor stores unless current anchors leave. Given that very few upscale North American malls also include downmarket anchors, and that almost no new North American malls are being built, Square One's anchor mix is unlikely to be replicated. Although Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus may look to open new North American stores, it's unlikely they will locate in malls already anchored by Walmart or even Target. The same goes for Canada, as we're unaware of any other mall, anchored by a Walmart, that could eventually house a luxury anchor.

CANADIAN RETAIL NEWS: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 (Updated Continuously)


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