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Calgary Retail Thread


Retail sales seem to be going strong in Calgary.
Despite inflation and higher interest rates, retail seems to be busy as ever. Malls are busy, restaurants and pubs are busy. Even the +15s seem busy. I thought the +15 system was getting quieter, but it was busy as hell the last two times I was in them.
 
It's weird that they put together a piece like this for the second location of something; there's been an H-Mart on Macleod Tr by 17th for three years; in one of those traffic-harried retail bays that had sat empty for most of a decade. It's not bad; I recommend the Ritz cracker sandwich with lemon icing.

There's also a local chain, A-Mart (formerly Arirang Mart; I think they renamed when H-Mart's profile started blowing up), with the original location in the Korean strip mall on 10tn Ave / 12 St SW by Community Natural Foods. (Fun fact: the strip mall was apparently built specifically to attract Korean businesses.) They've opened two suburban locations, one is an interchange west on the ring road from the new H-Mart in Royal Oak, and the other one is down south. I don't know enough about Korean groceries to say which one is actually better, but it's local for what that's worth.
 
New World of Gucci Boutique is now open at Holt Renfew

Gucci-Calgary-Hero-1068x690.png


https://retail-insider.com/retail-i...ue-concession-at-holt-renfrew-calgary-photos/
 

Uniqlo's second Calgary location to open at Market Mall​

https://calgaryherald.com/business/uniqlo-second-calgary-location-market-mall

Likely will go in the old American Eagle location which has been surrounded by construction hoarding for a while now
It's going to be a pretty sizeable store. It showed as "Uniqlo (Coming Soon)" on the CF Market Mall map earlier but has since been removed. The combined space it's taking up is about 15,000 sqft, which is 2,000 more than the Chinook location (~13,000)

1702501686555.png
 
From the University District thread:
This may belong in a different thread but what are people's opinions on why there hasn't been a lot of retail growth for the record population growth we're seeing? UD seems to be the only one the last few years.
I would chalk it up to the aftereffects of the COVID era. More people started shopping online, and inflation and stalled wages led to less consumer spending. And for EV specifically, the street life in that part of downtown made it less desirable.

Maybe a little of it is COVID, I think a little more is the increase in online and delivery. But I think the underlying premise is wrong.
Here's retail (as well as wholesale) and hospitality (dining and hotels) employment as a percentage of total employment, for Calgary and other CMAs:
1709260042217.png

Retail in Calgary has been lower than other CMAs, and has had a bit of a roller coaster ride. We're currently at the low end of where we've been over the past 17 years, but we were at a high just a year ago. The longer term trend (visible in the multi-CMA data) is for a very slow decline; a little under 0.1% per year; that to me feels like the broad industry trends.

Hospitality shows a clear COVID effect (and shows I think just noise in the data as far as Calgary goes). That's a real COVID trend, although it's recovered halfway since then.

The mix hasn't changed wildly, either. Here's the share of total employment in 2016 and 2021 in Calgary for retail and allied industries:
1709264195061.png

The restaurant sector has taken a massive hit; so has accommodation (this is May 2021, so there has been some recovery since then.) Food and pharmacy are up a little; some of this is probably compensating for less restaurant. Clothing and hobby stores are down while internet (non-store retailers) is up. Miscellaneous store is also up; that includes cannabis.


I think that the original premise (University City is the only retail development we've seen in the past few years) isn't true. What's happened is that instead of enclosed shopping malls or massive big box centres, there's more smaller community shopping being built. When completed, University City will have 300,000 sq ft of retail; maybe 150K-200K of this has been built so far?

Right now University City offers: grocery, liquor, cannabis, pharmacy, 13 restaurants, coffee/tea, ice cream, bakery, bank, 2 fitness, 2 hair, nails, wax, walk-in clinic, pet food, 3 optometry, dental, physio, childcare; plus a hotel, a Staples and the VIP movie theatre. Other than the last three, these are very standard daily necessity type places. No home goods, no boutiques, the only clothing store sells scrubs (since it's near two hospitals).

I present you The Shops of Carrington Green - 86,000 square feet; grocery, liquor, cannabis, pharmacy, 6 restaurants, 2 coffee/tea, ice cream, bakery, 2 fitness, barber, nails, spa, walk-in clinic, vet, pet food, optometry, dental, physio, childcare. Entirely built since mid 2021.
I present you Sage Hill Forum - 175,000 square feet; grocery, liquor, pharmacy, cannabis, 9 restaurants, 2 coffee/tea, ice cream, 3 fitness, 2 hair, nails, walk-in clinic, vet, pet food, optometry, dental, physio, childcare; still 10 or so CRUs left. Built 2018-2021.
I present you Highstreet at Cornerstone - 141,000 square feet; grocery, liquor, pharmacy, 5 restaurants, coffee/tea, 2 banks, Dollarama, hair, physio, dental, optometry, childcare; still 13 CRUs left. Built since mid 2021.

There are a bunch more; I'm just looking at the north end. None of these places have been mentioned ever on this forum; they're mostly very standard glorified strip malls (the first two have condos attached; the Sage Hill one is actually pretty nice as far as these things go). They're so anonymous here, I've deliberately put the name of one of them down wrong and I'm guessing you probably never noticed. But other than the movie theatre, the hotel and the Staples, they're offering more or less the same stuff as University City. The dining isn't quite as strong, and the brand names at University City are certainly fancier, but they're not that far off.

In a way, it's actually a positive trend. These are not gems of urban design, but at least they're smaller rather than the days of Westhills where there are four supermarkets all basically in the same retail node and then nothing in the surrounding communities. It'd be better to have walkable communities, but if they have to be built car-forward, at least having these smaller shopping nodes means more 1 km drives and less 5 km ones.
 
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From the University District thread:



Maybe a little of it is COVID, I think a little more is the increase in online and delivery. But I think the underlying premise is wrong.
Here's retail (as well as wholesale) and hospitality (dining and hotels) employment as a percentage of total employment, for Calgary and other CMAs:
View attachment 544558
Retail in Calgary has been lower than other CMAs, and has had a bit of a roller coaster ride. We're currently at the low end of where we've been over the past 17 years, but we were at a high just a year ago. The longer term trend (visible in the multi-CMA data) is for a very slow decline; a little under 0.1% per year; that to me feels like the broad industry trends.

Hospitality shows a clear COVID effect (and shows I think just noise in the data as far as Calgary goes). That's a real COVID trend, although it's recovered halfway since then.

The mix hasn't changed wildly, either. Here's the share of total employment in 2016 and 2021 in Calgary for retail and allied industries:
View attachment 544625
The restaurant sector has taken a massive hit; so has accommodation (this is May 2021, so there has been some recovery since then.) Food and pharmacy are up a little; some of this is probably compensating for less restaurant. Clothing and hobby stores are down while internet (non-store retailers) is up. Miscellaneous store is also up; that includes cannabis.


I think that the original premise (University City is the only retail development we've seen in the past few years) isn't true. What's happened is that instead of enclosed shopping malls or massive big box centres, there's more smaller community shopping being built. When completed, University City will have 300,000 sq ft of retail; maybe 150K-200K of this has been built so far?

Right now University City offers: grocery, liquor, cannabis, pharmacy, 13 restaurants, coffee/tea, ice cream, bakery, bank, 2 fitness, 2 hair, nails, wax, walk-in clinic, pet food, 3 optometry, dental, physio, childcare; plus a hotel, a Staples and the VIP movie theatre. Other than the last three, these are very standard daily necessity type places. No home goods, no boutiques, the only clothing store sells scrubs (since it's near two hospitals).

I present you The Shops of Carrington Green - 86,000 square feet; grocery, liquor, cannabis, pharmacy, 6 restaurants, 2 coffee/tea, ice cream, bakery, 2 fitness, barber, nails, spa, walk-in clinic, vet, pet food, optometry, dental, physio, childcare. Entirely built since mid 2021.
I present you Sage Hill Forum - 175,000 square feet; grocery, liquor, pharmacy, cannabis, 9 restaurants, 2 coffee/tea, ice cream, 3 fitness, 2 hair, nails, walk-in clinic, vet, pet food, optometry, dental, physio, childcare; still 10 or so CRUs left. Built 2018-2021.
I present you Highstreet at Cornerstone - 141,000 square feet; grocery, liquor, pharmacy, 5 restaurants, coffee/tea, 2 banks, Dollarama, hair, physio, dental, optometry, childcare; still 13 CRUs left. Built since mid 2021.

There are a bunch more; I'm just looking at the north end. None of these places have been mentioned ever on this forum; they're mostly very standard glorified strip malls (the first two have condos attached; the Sage Hill one is actually pretty nice as far as these things go). They're so anonymous here, I've deliberately put the name of one of them down wrong and I'm guessing you probably never noticed. But other than the movie theatre, the hotel and the Staples, they're offering more or less the same stuff as University City. The dining isn't quite as strong, and the brand names at University City are certainly fancier, but they're not that far off.

In a way, it's actually a positive trend. These are not gems of urban design, but at least they're smaller rather than the days of Westhills where there are four supermarkets all basically in the same retail node and then nothing in the surrounding communities. It'd be better to have walkable communities, but if they have to be built car-forward, at least having these smaller shopping nodes means more 1 km drives and less 5 km ones.
Appreciate the detailed data. Maybe my original question wasn’t phrased well, but I was mainly wondering why with the amount of urban growth, there’s very little interest in building out walkable retail in the core. It was posted in the EV thread because I think that’s a good example. The Riff hasn’t been able to get off the ground after so many years. The examples you presented are actually a good comparable. They build out these communities and retailers move in, yet in the core, seems like retailers are very reluctant. And before the crime comments, there are cities with crime much worse than Calgary and that still has plenty of retail.
 
I agree it seems retail in the core has been somewhat stagnated despite the city growing by huge numbers, but I also wonder how much of that is due to the type of growth. A huge amount of the growth has been international immigration, and I don't know how much they drive retail growth in the core, and much of the growth has been in the newer outer neighborhoods. Delivery service has had some impact as well. I went to Rajdoot's new spot the other day and it's half the size of the old one. In the time I was there (roughly an hour), I saw 4 people arrive to be seated, but saw about dozen skip drivers arrive for orders. The owner confirmed that more than 50% of his business is takeout through delivery services.
 
The owner confirmed that more than 50% of his business is takeout through delivery services.
These places have become their own ghost kitchens. It is tough to do business otherwise. Was in the new Chachi's in Marda Loop this week at lunch and it wasn't busy, while next door Deville was very busy.
 
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Some places still seem to be busy. I've been past new places on 17th like 'Korilla' and 'Porch' and they're always packed. It might take a bit for things to normalize, or maybe this is the new normal where half of the business is delivery serviced.
 
These places have become their own ghost kitchens
Funny you should mention. Rajdoot has takeout listed under at least 2 names. There's Rajdoot for their regular menu, and some other name for just vegetarian items, I guess for people who want to think they're patronizing an all-vegetarian restaurant?
 

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