Last week, Canada opened The Outlet Collection at Niagara,
which quickly filled with thousands of shoppers looking for the bargains and brands
they could previously only get in the United States.
‘We are sending a clear message to the outlet shopping industry
that we mean business,’ Daniel
E. Fournier, chairman and CEO of Ivanho?? Cambridge, told Buffalo
The outlet mall’s 520,000 square feet of space is filled
with 94 retailers, and eight more are on the way. The $162 million mall is made
up of rows of stores, each with its own entrance connected by a series of
partly covered walkways. A separate food court sits enclosed in a stone-covered
building at one end near a grassy area where shoppers can gather on Adirondack
chairs, sit by a fireplace and listen to live music.
The Outlet Collection is a new concept for Ivanho??
Cambridge, which plans to replicate it at other malls around the world. Reactions
to the open-air style of the mall were mixed as some loved it and some worries
what would happen when winter hits.
One shopper Shelly Berenbaum said that the new mall was nice
but that she would continue making her weekend-long shopping trips to the
States every month, where many shopkeepers and her preferred hotelier know her
by name. She told Buffalo News, ‘We have
our routine. We do our shopping. We go out to dinner. We go to the movies.’
And though the grand-opening promotions made it difficult to
compare prices, she thought there were still better bargains to be had in the
States. ‘When you guys have sales, you have sales,’ she said. She cited a pair
of UGG boots marked down from $198 to $159 at the Canadian Outlet. A great
price for Canada, but she got the same pair on clearance at the U.S. Saks
outlet for $50 in February.
Christine Lalonde said she would still make her monthly trip
to the U.S. to stock up on clothes at Walmart. Though there are Walmarts in
Ontario, none has the larger sizes and styles she prefers. Marilyn Lock talked
about differences in inventory and selection, as well, even under identical
store banners. ‘Target over there, I love it. Target over here, forget it. It
doesn’t have the same variety or the pricing,’ she explained.
A lot of shoppers also said the new mall provided everything
they needed to stay local. For instance, Girlyn Cayabyab, who has been
venturing to Walden Galleria to shop every two weeks for years, said she would
probably be spending more time at the Outlet Collection from now on. ‘By the
time you go over the border and everything, I’d rather just pay a little extra
and not have to deal with it.’
The economy in Ontario’s Niagara region has struggled at the
second-highest in Canada, so Canadians hope its sleek new outlet mall will
be enough to keep some more of those dollars at home. Ann Ackerman, VP of outlet marketing at Macerich, said, ‘While
the newness of the competition will be intriguing to some shoppers, Fashion
Outlets of Niagara Falls is the largest outlet mall in the region today, and
will soon bring even more brands,’
Want more on this topic? Attend The North American Consumer
Insights Event this September 29-October 1, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The event showcases the local Canadian culture in its storytelling. The same
relentless commitment to quality and value means more choice, diversity and a
change of scenery. With new entrants like Target Canada, rapid changes in
technology and increasingly discerning customers, the Canadian retail industry
is in a constant state of change, challenging players to adapt strategies and
tactics to remain relevant.