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Canada’s best malls perform as well, or better than U.S.’s top ones: study

Shopping madness at Yorkdale mall on Dec. 11, 2009. Charla Jones/Globe and Mail via CP

The United States may have bigger malls than Canada does, for the most part.

But that doesn’t mean they perform better from a business perspective. In fact, Canada’s malls were found to be more productive than America’s, in a study released recently by the Retail Council of Canada (RCC).

READ MORE: Amazon and death of the shopping mall: 10 retail trends to watch for in 2017

The study collected data on mall productivity for the year ending Aug. 31, 2016. It also measured pedestrian counts over a 12-month period.

Its overall finding was that “Canada’s malls are, on average, more productive than those in the United States.

“While there are a handful of U.S. centers that beat Canada’s top performers, Canada’s top malls are as busy as the leading U.S. malls,” the study said.

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Sales productivity

The RCC measured sales productivity by looking at how much money was spent per square foot.

By that measure, Canadian malls have been beating America’s shopping centres each year for the last three.

Sales productivity at malls in Canada and the U.S.
Sales productivity at malls in Canada and the U.S. Retail Council of Canada

Canadian malls even compete with American ones when it comes to foot traffic.

Toronto’s Eaton Centre, for example, was considered Canada’s busiest mall with a pedestrian count of 48,969,858.

That was more than America’s busiest mall — Honolulu’s Ala Moana Shopping Center, which has 42 million estimated annual visitors.

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What’s the secret to the success of Canadian malls? They’ve adapted.

Mall owners are investing in their facilities through renovations and expansions, the report said. They’re also offering enhanced food and beverage options, with food courts that offer variety and contemporary designs.

They’re also taking in large-format stores, like La Maison Simons, which opened in Mississauga’s Square One shopping centre in March, or U.S. retailer Nordstrom, which is now located in malls in Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto.

READ MORE: It’s official: Canadians have abandoned U.S. outlet malls

But there’s also plenty of inter-Canada competition when it comes to the productivity of a shopping mall.

Here are Canada’s top-performing shopping centres, when counting sales per square foot:

1) Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto Ont. — $1,650.85

Shoppers are photographed at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto, Ont. on Oct. 22, 2008. Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail via CP

2) Oakridge Shopping Centre, Vancouver, B.C. — $1,537

Christmas decorations welcome last-minute shoppers to Oakridge Centre mall, Vancouver, B.C., Dec. 18, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Bayne Stanley

3) CF Pacific Centre, Vancouver, B.C. — $1,523

4) CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Toronto, Ont. — $1,488

People shop at CF Toronto Eaton Centre a few days before Christmas, Toronto Ont., Dec. 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Rachel Verbin

5) Southgate Shopping Centre, Edmonton, Alta. — $1,155

Edmontonians lineup outside of the Southgate Mall’s Apple store to purchase the new iPhone 5-S and 5-C, on Sept. 20, 2013.
Edmontonians lineup outside of the Southgate Mall’s Apple store to purchase the new iPhone 5-S and 5-C, on Sept. 20, 2013. Tom Vernon, Global News

6) Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto, Ont. — $1,078.16

Air Pressure, an art installation of more than 200 air-inflatable bird-like sculptures uniquely designed to inflate and deflate with “breathing animation” to mimic flight patterns, at Royal Bank Plaza at 200 Bay Street in downtown Toronto on April 17, 2012. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail). Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

7) CF Chinook Centre, Calgary, Alta. — $1,057

The interior of Chinook Centre mall in Calgary, Alta., in this Facebook photo from August 2015. Facebook/CF Chinook Centre

8) Metropolis at Metrotown, Burnaby, B.C. — $1,035

Metropolis at Metrotown. Facebook/Metropolis at Metrotown.

9) CF Rideau Centre, Ottawa, Ont. — $1,016

The food court is seen at the Rideau Centre in Ottawa on Nov. 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

10) Square One Shopping Centre — Mississauga, Ont. — $1,014.44

Signage with the SIMONS department logo is displayed outside SIMONS at Square One in Mississauga, Ont., on March 21, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan

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