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Doing Business in Canada

Panelists are candid about the challenges and advantages of taking retail concepts North.

CANADA, WHICH HAS a population of 35 million, is the world’s 12th largest retail market. With a conservative government, solid con- sumer confidence (better than the U.S.), a median income of $64,000 versus the U.S.’s $53,000, and inclined sales psf of $596 versus $455 in the U.S., going north is an attractive proposition for many U.S.-based retailers and developers.

Those details and more were brought out in the RECon panel discussion on “Doing Business in Canada,” which was co-moderated by John Crombie of Cushman and Wakefield and Roman Drohomirecki of Ivanhoe Cambridge. Crombie said an estimated 600 international retail chains have a presence in Canada. They include recent entrants Target, Crate & Barrel and Nordstrom, as well as seven of the top 10 U.S. retailers.

According to Deloitte, about 40 percent of retail product sold in Canada is U.S. based. Clearly, Canada is a stepping stone for both U.S. and European chains testing international markets. Canadians are hugely aware of U.S. retailers and approximately 10 percent of Alberta’s residents are expats very loyal to American brands.

Following the Aug. 1 opening of Simon Property Group’s 360,000-sf Toronto Premium Outlets, six more U.S.-style outlet centers are planned to open in Canada in the next two years.


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