Temporary walls have been erected at Cornwall Centre as crews undergo major renovations for a new “first-to-market” retail store.
According to Cornwall Centre general manager Doug Kozak, the new fashion retailer will be about 22,500 square feet and on two levels.
It will take up the space currently occupied by Tim Horton’s and a Telus storefront.
“It’s a significant fashion retailer and the citizens of Regina will be happy to have them here,” Kozak said.
The $5.8 million retail alteration has been approved by the city and according to Kozak, it’s been years of discussion in the making.
“We’ve been working on it for a couple of years so it’s nice to see the hoarding going up and the sound of construction in the background,” he said.
Reports among local sources said the retailer is major fashion house H&M but Kozak remained tight-lipped.
“When we deal with these retailers, they make the choice to make the announcement themselves, so we’re going to wait it out and see what comes,” he said.
For the first time in eight years, sales at Cornwall have dropped slightly.
“We’ve had a really good run over the past eight years with sales and traffic being up year over year. Last year was a little flat, maybe down a per cent,” Kozak said.
He chalks it up to strategically relocating shops and a soft market.
“Strategically, we created some vacancies to allow us to relocate some tenants around the shopping centre so that we could make room to do this big retailer,” he said.
The new retailer is slated for an early 2018 opening.
Big Brands in Regina
The secret retailer would join other major brands like Cabela’s and Designer Show Warehouse that have marked the Queen City as a place of interest.
Lisa Watson, associate professor of marketing at the University of Regina, said growth in Regina is steadily in line with other cities.
“Everything we’ve seen here over the past few years is quite normal and it’s what we would expect around us. It’s growing and it’s great to see,” Watson said.
Watson said the appeal is a combination of an untapped market and space opportunities. An example of that is Regina’s Grassland mall, she said.
“When you have the whole Grasslands mall just opening up, it’s a wealth of opportunity. We saw lots of stores that we wouldn’t have otherwise expected,” Watson said.
An emailed statement from H&M Canada said the company had “nothing to confirm at this time.”