Pure shopping experience near Toronto
It’s still a construction site, more mud and trucks than Coach and Cole Haan, but Toronto Premium Outlets is on track to open on August 1 in Halton Hills, offering a U.S style discount shopping experience less than an hour west of Toronto.
The project will add another 400,000 square feet of selling space to the booming Toronto retail market. Construction trailers have become a familiar part of the landscape as stores and malls including Sherway Gardens, Yorkdale and Square One expand and renovate to welcome and compete with newcomers, including Seattle-based department store retailer Nordstrom.
Toronto Premium Outlets is promising shoppers an experience unique to Canada. It will include retailers new to the outlet market in Canada: Cole Haan, Columbia Sportswear, DKNY, Icebreaker, Kate Spade New York, Polo Ralph Lauren, Restoration Hardware and Ted Baker London.
The racetrack-shaped design will allow shoppers to hit every store if they walk the perimeter. The outdoor central hub will include a waterfall and fireplace.
The focus will be on providing a premium shopping experience despite the outlet label.
“We are pure shopping. We are deals,” said Megan Johnson, general manager, leading a tour of the location on Wednesday.
Goods will be sold at 25-65 per cent off regular retail pricing and retailers are being encouraged to offer deeper discounts on opening day, she said.
Depending on the brand, retailers will offer discounts on products also sold in regular stores, on merchandise that is seasonal, but perhaps later in the season, and merchandise specifically manufactured and priced for outlet locations.
“I think consumers will be excited,” said Wendy Evans of Evans and Company Consultants Inc.
She said that while the GTA is the most concentrated of any retail market in Canada, it’s still not up to the level of U.S. retail supply.
James Smerdon, vice president and director, retail consulting, at Colliers International Consulting, said he doesn’t think retail supply in Toronto is being overbuilt.
“We’re seeing a lot of population growth and a lot of retail development. So far those things are in lock-step,” he said.
Retail construction in Calgary is also booming, with 10-million square feet of retail space in the development pipeline. But Calgary is also experiencing population and income growth and no shortage of employment, according to a Colliers International retail report released Wednesday.
In the U.S. after the economic meltdown of 2008, there was more than a billion square feet of vacant retail space, according to Smerdon.
Toronto attracted 15 new entrants to the retail market in 2013, according to data from real estate brokerage CBRE Ltd.
The data says retail inventory in Canada will grow by 5.4-million square feet in 2013, and it predicts new supply to continue to trend above the 5.2-million square-foot 10-year average going forward.
More than 800 full- and part-time jobs will be created by Toronto Premium Outlets. A job fair co-sponsored by Halton Employment, Peel Region and the Town of Halton Hills will be held Thursday, June 6, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Milton Sports Centre at 605 Santa Maria Blvd., Milton.