Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

ClownLoach
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Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by ClownLoach »

Mount Royal, QC is going to have a new 170 store mall opening this August. Everything about it looks like a regular, indoor mall. It's going to be more luxury focused despite being built in an "industrial wasteland" between two highways jammed with traffic. They don't seem to have any qualms about filling all 170 stores, and they have shopping malls all over the place that have zero vacancies. What is the problem with malls in America when they're still successful elsewhere?

https://www.mtlblog.com/royalmount-mall-montreal-stores
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Re: Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by SamSpade »

I haven't been in a Canadian mall for about a decade, but the last time I was in one in B.C., they continue to be more like our malls used to be - stores that sold a variety of things and would attract a variety of people to them. The Bay was kind of snoozy like Macy's but not terrible, (at that time still) Zellers was practical things, and Real Canadian Superstore or T&T Supermarket providing day to day goods alongside a deep mall full of clothing and shoes at prices from low to high alongside food courts, electronics stores, luggage, and cinemas.

In the part of BC I was in, most also had a Kin's Farm Market so if you didn't like the produce at RCS (or Safeway) or T&T you had another alternative.

Many also had community centres or libraries attached in some way, so there were public spaces that did not require spending any money.

Sears Canada was still around back then, but quite a bit different from Sears U.S. operation.

I think Canadian retail wasn't as "overbuilt" as the U.S., that's my only guess.
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Re: Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by rwsandiego »

ClownLoach wrote: March 28th, 2024, 9:41 am...What is the problem with malls in America when they're still successful elsewhere?

https://www.mtlblog.com/royalmount-mall-montreal-stores
It's not just malls in America. It is a worldwide problem. Take a gander at the dead malls subreddit and you will see.
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Re: Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by storewanderer »

What is interesting in Canada is it isn't unusual to see a Dollar Tree and/or Dollarama Store in many malls. In the US though those types of stores don't seem to show up in malls as they'd be viewed as downscale or something. But these stores bring in traffic. They sell essential goods. They provide a source of low cost drinks/snacks for mall employees. They provide a place to take a kid into and buy them a cheap new toy. Or pick up a greeting card/gift bag (another product missing from many malls today).

If I were a mall operator I'd be actively recruiting either Dollar Tree or Dollar General to take mall locations with rent incentives as those stores at this point don't compete with anything else in the malls but bring a wide mix of products in. Similar to how bringing Dick's into many malls brought a new source for many sporting goods items that were previously missing from the malls.

Target would be another option but we really didn't see small format Target go after mall locations.

Many US malls for instance have nowhere to even buy a kid a toy anymore. Okay, the Toys R Us concession buried deep into some Macys, I guess we can count that but I am talking out in the main mall, not buried up an escalator in a corner.

US malls made their bed with their store mix choices. The few US malls with a full size Target may be lucky but I'm not sure how much cross shop there is between full size Target Stores and their attached malls. The smaller Dollar style stores get people to walk through the mall and stay longer.
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Re: Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by buckguy »

They're building a mall, not malls, plural. Beyond that Canada has 1/3 less retail square footage/person than US even though the median income is 80% of the US, with less disparity between high and low income, which should encourage more mid-market retail. Despite this, Canada has lost a lot of department stores, in particular. Simpsons (Sears) and Eaton (whose name lives on in the malls they developed) vaporized long ago. Hudson's Bay has closed a number of store recently, without building replacements.

This mall is part of a gigantic mixed use redevelopment project adjacent to a wealthy, inner ring section of Montreal. It's mission is to bring in more upscale stores to Montreal (so it's not a mid market mall; it's more like the surviving US malls) and they claim that half will be new to the Montreal area. All of the components including the retail are smaller than originally planned. It's an old industrial site next to what looks like a large rail yard.
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Re: Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by HCal »

The weather is probably also a factor. There is higher demand for indoor malls in places where it is too cold to walk around outdoors for a portion of the year.
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Re: Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by buckguy »

HCal wrote: April 1st, 2024, 4:04 am The weather is probably also a factor. There is higher demand for indoor malls in places where it is too cold to walk around outdoors for a portion of the year.
That was always supposed to be the saving grace of malls, but it doesn't work that way----look at all the dead enclosed malls we have regardless of region, whereas many of the open-air 50s strips have lived on, as long as they had the demographics to support mid-to-upper income shopping; those complexes were able to adapt to new kinds of retail malls did not. Toronto's climate isn't much different from Chicago's and two of the most successful Chicago area malls, Old Orchard and Oakbrook were never enclosed. Michigan Avenue lives on as a shopping street while the malls along it all have faltered.

One difference in the Canadian malls is that they always had a wider array of stores than in the US. The homogenization of malls in terms of price points and apparel-related merchants is one of the many things that doomed them. If all malls seem to have the same stores it's easy for people to change loyalties if a new, bigger mall opens or an existing one seems to be in decline. The absence of new "mall stores" or stores that easily could go in a lifestyle center, even megamalls wind up with vacancies.
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Re: Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by storewanderer »

HCal wrote: April 1st, 2024, 4:04 am The weather is probably also a factor. There is higher demand for indoor malls in places where it is too cold to walk around outdoors for a portion of the year.
Yet CA has some of the best indoor malls in the US...

I don't see the weather and mall correlation for whatever reason anymore in much of the US. I feel like it was a bigger deal in the 90's.

Of course Mall of America back in MN... self contained facility... I stayed in it for 4 days one time when it was 10 degrees outside... didn't exit that building. Was in a hotel there and just did stuff in that facility... Had the weather been better I'd have definitely used the train/light rail to go somewhere else.
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Re: Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by ClownLoach »

I just wanted to bring up the topic because if anyone said they wanted to build a mall in the US their investors would demand the CEO's head on a stick. We act like they are all closing forever tomorrow, yet quietly the biggest and best malls keep growing.

This spot in Montreal is not nice and I would never imagine anything going there but maybe a Walmart. I have to double check and see if it even connects directly to the Metro or not. (The Montréal Metro subway is old, grungy, yet a fantastic and incredible model of efficiency in public transportation. You truly don't need to own a car on the island. Even the new trains somehow are grungy) And yes this is one new from the ground up mall, but they keep investing in and expanding others there like Carrefour Laval which is an absolute gem. It's really what @storewanderer brought up, that these malls are not obsolete but rather mismanaged, misused and misunderstood. They need investment but the big corporations have leveraged them so many times they can't borrow any more money to fix them. A more diverse base of stores is needed. It's okay and probably great to put a large grocery store in a mall. A Home Depot, Lowe's and/or Costco will work. It seems too many mall owners are giving up too easily which makes me wonder if the glut of completely dead malls lying around could have been saved but instead the big corporations are taking some sort of tax write off or otherwise benefiting from their demise.
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Re: Meanwhile in Canada, they're building Malls

Post by veteran+ »

"(The Montréal Metro subway is old, grungy, yet a fantastic and incredible model of efficiency in public transportation. You truly don't need to own a car on the island. Even the new trains somehow are grungy)"

OMG, what happened?

I was there around 1970 and it was gorgeous and the residents were so PROUD of it, loving to show it off to visitors.

How sad!
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