As the heavyweight Tanger factory outlet chain gears up to break ground in Kanata, expect to see more American retailers moving into the capital.
J. Crew — the preppy chain popularized by First Lady Michelle Obama — will likely be one of the next to announce stores in Ottawa, retail analyst Barry Nabatian is predicting.
Discount chain Target spearheaded the trend, going public in 2011 with plans to infiltrate the Canadian market.
With so many big names flocking to town, “it demonstrates that Ottawa’s retail business is quite lucrative,” said Nabatian.
When it comes to vacancy rates, the industry standard averages between 5% to 8%, said Nabatian. But in Ottawa it hovers around 3%, adding to the allure.
And at Bayshore, Rideau Centre, and St. Laurent shopping centres, vacancy rates are an astounding 1.5%, said Nabatian.
“When vacancy is low, obviously more are attracted, and now the question is, why so many Americans?” he asked.
Annual sales are measured by square footage in the retail world, and Ottawa ranks above average in this category.
“All of this, on top of the fact that Ottawa’s economy is fairly stable,” said Nabatian. “When you look at any economic fluctuations, we are not as badly impacted, and the overall incomes are very high here.”
Given these factors, retail giants down south would look at Bytown and say ‘gosh, that’s a good market,’ said Nabatian.
Opening this fall: Bank St., Meadowlands, Place d’Orleans, Hazeldean, Maloney Blvd. in Gatineau, Brockville St. in Smiths Falls
What to buy: Clothes, shoes, home furnishings, anything you’d get at Wal-Mart
Why we’ll go: Oprah says we should; To keep Wal-Mart on its toes; Designer collaborations with Prabal Gurung, Jason Wu.
Opening this fall: Bayshore
What to buy: affordable, trendy clothes & accessories for women, men & kids
Why we’ll go: Designer collaborations with Versace, Karl Lagerfeld, & Marni for a fraction of the usual cost; Saves us from trekking to Montreal or Toronto.
22,000-sq. ft., 64th location in Canada
Opening in spring 2015: Rideau Centre
What to buy: Clothes, handbags, shoes, cosmetics
Why we’ll go: Hassle-free return policy; Spacious bathrooms & lounge areas for breastfeeding moms; For the novelty of walking around Holt Renfrew with a competitor’s shopping bag
157,000-sq. ft. over two levels
Opening by 2015: Hwy. 417 & Huntmar Dr.
Why we’ll go: Close to Scotiabank Place; Now there’s a reason to visit Kanata
80 stores (350,000-sq. ft.)
700 jobs created during construction
1,000 full-time & part-time retail jobs
Projected $15M generated in sales tax