Chinook Mall
Paige O'Neill, general manager of Chinook Centre, oversees one of Canada's top malls.

Destination malls like Chinook Centre provide more than just shopping

CF Chinook Centre in Calgary has made it on a list of the most productive shopping malls in Canada.

According to the recent Retail Council of Canada’s Canadian Shopping Centre Study, Chinook Centre was ranked seventh overall with sales per square foot of $1,057 for the 12 months ending Aug. 31, 2016.

Paige O’Neill, general manager of Chinook Centre, says the local shopping centre has some key elements that contribute to its success.

‘‘We obviously have the retailers that people want to shop in and, at Chinook, we have over 30 unique-to-market retailers. So we have within the city of Calgary the most unique-to-market retailers. That in of itself makes you kind of a destination,’’ said O’Neill.

‘‘When you add seven full-service restaurants, one of the top three theatres in Canada, a bowling centre to the mix, you kind of have that full-service experience for guests.”

She says Chinook Centre is a destination people can visit and spend hours doing a variety of things. In fact, O’Neill says people spend more than an hour and a half at Chinook Centre on average.

We have, within the city of Calgary, the most unique-to-market retailers.

‘‘You might drop into a mall that’s maybe closer to home for certain items on your way home whereas malls of the Chinook Centre capacity is sort of one where you’re going to spend some time because there’s so much to see and so much to do, and so many retailers to shop,” she said.

The report included a number of key findings, including: landlords are increasing investment in renovations and expansions; consumer comfort while shopping is a priority for landlords; new large-format anchors continue to be added to shopping centres; pop-up/curated retail is increasing; and online retailers are opening bricks and mortar stores in malls.

The report also stated that, on average, Canadian shopping centres are more productive than those in the U.S.

Calgary’s CF Market Mall, though not in the top 10, was ranked 17th overall with sales per square foot of $898. Darren Milne, general manager of CF Market Mall, says the thing that separates malls is the tenant mix.

‘‘At the end of the day, customers are looking for a certain product and a wide variety of tenants to fill those needs,” said Milne. “So having a good tenant mix makes sure that you have not only premium tenants, but other tenants as well that provide different services. That is what is going to bring people to a mall.”

He also adds that the experience a mall can offer customers is important as well. For example, at Market Mall there is plenty of underground parking, free WiFi, and a number of promotions.

Milne says successful malls are responsive to the retail categories that are doing well. Right now, at Market Mall health and beauty, athletic, leisure and travel are popular for shoppers.