You know I love a good sale. The only thing better than a good sale? A good sale that is constantly restocked and is on all year round – otherwise known as an outlet mall. Whenever and wherever I’ve travelled in the past, I’ve always made a point of dropping by the local designer outlets, and have always done well (see here and here for past outlet mall loots). I’ve often lamented, however, our lack of designer outlets in Canada, the lone Holt Renfrew Last Call location in Toronto notwithstanding. The shopping gods have apparently heard my pleas, because they’ve sent word via The Globe and Mail that the outlet malls are finally coming for me and my wallet.
Toronto-based RioCan REIT announced yesterday a $1-billion partnership with U.S.-based company Tanger Outlet Centers Inc. that will bring U.S.-style premium outlet malls to Canada. The agreement is expected to pave the way for higher end U.S. retailers to bring their outlet stores north of the border for the first time. Tanger’s U.S. tenants include Saks Off 5th, Neiman Marcus Last Call, and the off-price outlets of Barneys, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach and Lacoste, among others. According to industry insiders, Tanger is already trying to persuade the head honchos at Saks to bring Saks Off 5th to Canada.
RioCan and Tanger plan to build 10 to 15 outlet malls across the country in the next seven years. Throw Intermix, J.Crew, Express, Marshalls and Target in the mix as well, and what you get is a rapidly changing Canadian retail landscape that’ll never be the same again. Good news, right? I, for one, am incredibly excited for the arrival of Intermix and designer outlet malls! What’s keeping me from a full-out celebration, however, are the long-term impacts to existing Canadian retailers like Holt Renfrew, the Bay, and locally-owned boutiques, which remain to be seen. As the old adage goes, be careful what you wish for…
P.S. Thanks to M for the tip on this story!