Last year, over a third of all first locations for retailers entering Canada were at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre. 2013 wasn't an unusual year for Yorkdale, however. From the inexpensive to luxurious, Yorkdale has been Canada's entry point for many foreign retailers for a number of years. Its latest mall expansion, anchored by a 188,000 square foot Nordstrom store, will see even more first-to-market retailers between now and 2016. It's no wonder that the mall is forecasted to become North America's top-selling mall by 2018.
In 2012, the mall saw several first-to-Canada retailers open in its south-western expansion, including Kate Spade, LOFT (by Ann Taylor), Microsoft Store, Ted Baker and Tesla Motors. In 2013, Yorkdale held the openings of Canada's first AllSaints, David Yurman, John Varvatos, Mulberry, White House | Black Market, Tumi, and Zara Home stores. 2014 is proving to be another stellar year for the mall, with a particular focus on luxury. So far, Yorkdale has announced Canada's first Jimmy Choo, Versace (free-standing), Moncler, Bulgari and Vince Camuto stores. We're told that more are on the way, possibly including a Uniqlo store that was recently mentioned in the Financial Post.
Several other first-to-Canada retailers for Yorkdale include Canada's first Apple Store (2005), GEOX (2005), Bath & Body Works (2008) and Crate & Barrel (2008).
The mall's exceptional leasing team, under the management of Oxford Properties, aggressively targets foreign retailers. It also targets foreign tourists, being Canada's first mall to accept the China UnionPay card. Last year the mall's annual sales surpassed $1 billion, with sales forecasts of $2 billion by 2018. We expect this to become North America's top-selling mall, considering current top-selling South Coast Plaza reaches about $1.5 billion annually, with no foreseeable expansion plans.
Yorkdale's new 298,000 square foot Nordstrom wing won't be the mall's final expansion, however. Another mall expansion is planned after Sears is demolished, housing multiple retailers and as many as two new department stores. Construction won't likely begin until the Nordstrom wing opens in 2016, and we'll update you with further details when permitted.
Source: CBRE report: How Global is the Business of Retail