A new year is ushering in more change to Saskatchewan’s two major downtown malls.
Volcom and Eddie Bauer at Regina’s Cornwall Centre are closing this month – Jan. 11 and Jan. 24, respectively.
The companies’ locations at Saskatoon’s Midtown Plaza are remaining open and shoppers can also use gift cards online.
Cornwall Centre didn’t specify why the stores were closing, but sent an email statement saying it’s focused on offering a “great shopping experience to all customers.”
“(The centre) has several new retailers, with two more that will be announced and opened in early 2020 taking up over 60,000 square feet,” the statement read.
“It’s currently home to a hugely successful Lush Cosmetics pop-up, as well as Just Cozy and Calendar Club stores. Notable brands like Sephora, Lululemon, and H&M continue to engage our shoppers.”
In the statement, the centre noted that renovations to the food court were revealed in June 2019, featuring additional seating, updated furniture, flooring and fixtures for a “contemporary communal eating space.”
There is still no word on how the Cornwall Sears vacancy will be developed.
Indicative of larger retail trends
Volcom and Eddie Bauer, along with luggage retailer Bentley, are only the most recent companies closing shop in Regina, but staying in Saskatoon.
“It’s disappointing, definitely. I know a lot of other people who work downtown who were pretty bummed to hear about it,” said Dustin Gill, who frequents Eddie Bauer and doesn’t plan to shop online.
“I try on sizes and I like to know it’s going to fit. I really don’t like the idea of buying things with the possibility I’m just going to send it back, to me that’s super irresponsible.”
In 2018, Cornwall Centre bid farewall to Roots, The Gap and Gap Kids – all of which still have locations at Midtown Plaza.
“We’re going to continue to see that. And it really depends on the analysis these larger companies do on the marketplace. And does it fit better in Regina or Saskatoon – very similar-sized centres,” said John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce.
Hopkins said retail is changing dramatically on a global scale with the continued popularity of online shopping, but added there’s still reasons why people will continue shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.
“In terms of customer service, you can try on or touch whatever it is the product might be – that’s important to people.”
Midtown Plaza making moves
H&M, which opened its first Saskatchewan location at Cornwall Centre, is set to open at Midtown Plaza this summer.
In July 2019, Saskatoon’s Midtown Plaza unveiled its new food hall, Midtown Common, filling 42,000 square feet of its Sears vacancy, the rest of which has been divided into smaller retail spaces.
This spring, Saskatchewan’s first Mountain Equipment Co-Op will open in Midtown’s former food court space.
The store is part of Midtown’s major redevelopment project and will include a timber canopy over the entrance, full height curtain wall glazing, and a new interior mall architectural treatment that will be first of its kind for the Co-op.
“Midtown has received a fantastic response from the community on its ongoing redevelopment and looks forward to welcoming Jack & Jones, a state-of-the-art Rider Store, and H&M in early 2020,” the centre stated in an e-mail response.
Midtown and Cornwall have separate owners, but both properties are managed by Cushman and Wakefield.