Canada attracted a record 40 new international retailers in 2017, and Vancouver lured 11 of those brands as the first Canadian port of call, according to the CBRE study How Global is the Business of Retail.
Toronto was the overwhelming choice for new retailers and attracted all 40 of the brands that chose to expand to Canada. Hogtown was also the only city in the Americas that the study ranked in the Top 20 globally for attracting new international brands.
Vancouver’s niche was luring upscale retailers to fashion strips such as the emerging Alberni Street strip.
“Luxury brands were a key driver of expansion into the Americas,
with a sizable proportion of these brands opening in Canada,
particularly in Vancouver, with strong demand from local
consumers within the city’s growing high-income bracket and
from affluent Asian tourists,” the report noted.
The report did not list all the brands that opened in Metro Vancouver in 2017 but newcomers to Alberni Street included Van Cleef and Arpels and IWC Schaffhausen. Jimmy Choo plans to open an Alberni Street store later this year.
Chinese value-brand Miniso opened its first Vancouver store in April 2017, and its vice-president of development, Yi Ma, told Business in Vancouver in August that he expected Miniso to have 15 stores in Metro Vancouver by late-summer 2018.
Japanese home-goods retailer Muji entered Canada in 2014, but entered the Vancouver market in 2017 with locations on Robson Street and at Metropolis at Metrotown. The stationery, household-item and fashion store opened its third Metro Vancouver store at Richmond Centre at the end of April.
There is also Japanese fast-fashion retailer Uniqlo, which opened in 2016 in Toronto and followed that up in 2017 with an opening at Burnaby’s Metropolis at Metrotown. It has since opened in Surrey’s Guildford Town Centre and at Richmond Centre. Uniqlo CEO Tadashi Yanai told BIV that he would have liked to have opened his first Canadian store in Vancouver but his company was not able to find the appropriate real estate.
“With Canada’s increasing international appeal and competitive
dollar, record levels of tourism are again expected in 2018,” the report noted. “If optimism remains elevated, it will likely result in continued interest from international retailers in the year ahead,”