As its aged parking structures faced pulverization by PCL Constructors’ bulldozers, Bayshore launched itself into the upper echelons of Ottawa retailers – similar to the likes of the Rideau Centre, which it currently lags behind in productivity.
With news that the expanded mall will include an Apple Store and some first-in-Ottawa tenants that have yet to be named, Bayshore’s general manager Denis Pelletier said he expects traffic to increase by 30 per cent and sales to increase above its current $600 per square foot, excluding department stores.
Bayshore is not looking to become a high-end shopping centre with lead tenants, Mr. Pelletier said, but the goal is to create a more sophisticated, cleaner-looking mall with new stores that are well-recognized and appeal to a middle- to upper-class demographic.
“Looking at Rideau Centre’s success in adding to the market, a lot of those retailers are looking for a second store. Having one store in a market like Ottawa isn’t practical,” Mr. Pelletier said. “We’d like to be part of that second wave.”
WHO STANDS TO LOSE
But as Bayshore continues to compete with its downtown rival for size and productivity, some of its current vendors who don’t fit in with the mall’s new esthetic may be left high and dry, according to Barry Nabatian, director of the market research division at Shore Tanner & Associates.
Landlords have the right to choose not to renew leases and underperforming stores or ones with multiple Ottawa locations may find themselves without a renewed tenancy, Mr. Nabatian said.
While declining to name specific retailers, he said that stores at risk could include those that have been with the mall since the beginning and have lost their novelty, or those offering mid-price, mid-quality products – a market already dominated by big box stores.
Mr. Pelletier said, however, that the goal of the expansion is to add brands Bayshore currently doesn’t have, not to eliminate the ones it does.
“We’re very pleased with our mix we have now,” he said.
WHO COULD MOVE IN
Swedish clothing store H&M, which has long been searching for an Ottawa location, will likely show up in the expanded Bayshore, Mr. Nabatian said, along with British men’s clothing store Topman. Forever 21, successful in the Rideau Centre, could also be a candidate for a second Ottawa location.
Bayshore playing copycat doesn’t bother Cindy VanBuskirk, Rideau Centre’s general manager, who said she wouldn’t be at all surprised to see some of the downtown centre’s successful brands show up at its competitor’s mall.
Although the Rideau Centre sees about 60,000 people come through its doors daily – three times as many as Bayshore, according to Mr. Nabatian’s estimate – many of those are transit-oriented and don’t amount to sales.
And while Rideau Centre shoppers are often solitary, Bayshore attracts families living in the west end – the region of Ottawa where population is growing faster than anywhere else in the city, with about 4,000 to 4,500 additional residents per year, according to Shore Tanner & Associates’ market research.
Although Bayshore’s expansions might give it an edge on the competition for now, Rideau Centre and St. Laurent Shopping Centre both have plans to grow.
“The three of them move more or less together,” Mr. Nabatian said.
OTTAWA'S LEADING SHOPPING CENTRES
Gross leasable floor space: 763,062 square feet
Sales per square foot: $1,000, according to Shore Tanner & Associates’s Barry Nabatian
Number of stores: 180
Gross leasable floor space: 746,850 square feet
Sales per square foot: $600, according to general manager Denis Pelletier
Number of stores: 165 currently, with 56 new stores to be added
St. Laurent Shopping Centre:
Gross leasable floor space: 834,869 square feet
Sales per square foot: Roughly $550, according to Mr. Nabatian’s estimate. St. Laurent could not be reached for comment.
Number of stores: 170