It is an interesting time for regional malls in Metro Vancouver, and two new entrants in the market, McArthurGlen in Richmond by the Vancouver International Airport and the hugely overbuilt 1.2 million square foot Tsawwassen Mills Mall tell different tales.  Glen Korstrom reports in Business in Vancouver on the proposed 84,0000 square foot expansion to the existing 240,000 square feet at McArthurGlen, which its general manager claims is “the No. 1-performing outlet centre in Canada…citing $1,220 in sales per square foot per year from his mall’s more than 70 tenants.”
That amount of $1,220 sales per square foot means that the airport’s mall which focuses on sales as an outlet is number three in British Columbia after Oakridge (which makes $1,579 per square foot) and Pacific Centre (which is making $1,532 per square foot according to the Retail Council of Canada. Why is McArthur Glen doing so well? It sells discounted merchandise, its customers are locals as well as tourists from the airport, and it is well serviced by the Canada Line to the airport.
It’s been a different story at Tsawwassen Mills, which opened in October 2016. Based upon the two other mega malls (CrossIron Mills in Calgary and Vaughn Mills in Toronto) in the Ivanhoe Cambridge stable , this mall was built with  over 6,000 parking spaces  on the most arable land in Canada. Without a close ring of density and with poor public transportation connections from the region, this mall has faltered, with Retail Insider Media owner Craig Patterson saying that he has heard the mall has consistently been struggling. On Ivanhoe Cambridge’s website they confirm that retail sales are only $345 not per square foot, but per square foot of a retail unit, almost a quarter of the sales reported by McArthurGlen.
The CBC has been investigating the fact that “technological advances” have lowered consumer demand for many products, and while online shopping is still only 3.4 per cent of retail sales, online trading platforms have lessened the need to buy new things. Canada may have maxed out on the square footage of retail that can be supported, and Millennials~those born in the 1980’s and 1990’s  don’t gravitate to car ownership as much as their parents did, making them less likely to drive to a mall and more likely to shop online or stick to local stores.”
An older mall in Toronto, Yorkdale has continued to draw in customers by offering high-end shops and appealing food spectacles and stores. While retailers try to create “experiences” for their shoppers, the appeal of outside settings and main streets with a blend of shops and services seem to be setting the trend. The most successful retailers are not bundled in a mall but are independent standalones, such as Winners, Costco and Walmart.  Meanwhile many malls look at redevelopment and increasing density in the form of mixed use development  to generate much-needed income to sustain their retail operations.  A survey conducted in the winter of 2017 suggests that 7 out of 10 executives believe that aggressive adaptation to e-commerce is necessary for retail survival. But the bottom line differences at  McArthurGlen Mall and Tsawwassen Mills Mall also suggests that discounted goods offered close to consumers with access to public transit choices are important as retailing moves into a 21st century adaptation.



  1. That the mail is “well serviced by Canada Line” is not particularly true IMHO. The Canada Line drops you away from the mail to walk through the full length of the parking lot. And because the Canada Line airport surcharge applies to this stop it makes a return trip to the mail rather pricey: a 2 zone return fare plus the surcharge is $13.10. As much as this mail might like to say it is transit accessible I would guess the vast majority of their clientele drives there and parks in their sprawling lots.

    1. Yes Thomas, we’re all aware how First Nations are hoarding all the wealth in this country.They’re all living the good life while the rest of us struggle with even having a safe source of drinking water.

        1. True reconciliation isn’t going to happen as long as there are people with your attitude still alive. The abuse hasn’t fully stopped but blatant abuse still occurred almost to the turn of the last century.
          European settlers tried to beat the snot out of their culture for over 200 years, stole their land, stole their children… pure genocide. And now you blame them that they are downtrodden and have abuse problems. Really pathetic Mr. privileged.
          Only when we admit our (that being our culture and the privilege we have from the theft of their wealth) role in the problem can the real abuse stop and reconciliation begin.
          There are few immigrants who live in such squalour. But then again, there aren’t many immigrants who’ve suffered 200+ years of constant deprivation and abuse.

        2. The Mall, and other developments on TFN land, was nothing more than a work-around for an unscrupulous ALR-hating government to get that land out of the ALR. It’s just more abuse and manipulation to buy off poor, desperate, oppressed people that our society abused in the first place.
          You are not being held accountable for deeds you weren’t involved in. You are being made aware that we all still profit from the deeds done on our behalf whether we agree with them or not.
          Abused people suffer throughout their lives. They often need the help of others and of society to return to normal if they even can. Abused societies need our help even more, particularly since we still benefit from the theft of their land. Helping them is not racism.
          Reconciliation will hopefully lead to independence, self-sufficiency and equal treatment. I’m pretty certain most First Nations don’t want to be dependent on their occupiers any more than the occupiers do. Nothing wrong with the idea of independent nations within Canada. That isn’t racism. That’s tolerance, flexibility, imagination, cooperation.

        3. We haven’t done much of either. But this is all pretty ironic and pathetic coming from Beyer. Where do you think Germany would be without a very very generous and forgiving world helping them back on their feet?
          Reconciliation didn’t begin 200 years ago Beyer. It’s just barely begun. There’s a long long way to go and thankfully some of us will no longer be around before it runs its course.

Comments are closed.