Downtown Vancouver retailers face a risk from growing competition

Vancouver’s retail market is the leading market in Canada but their position is being challenged as amid their own fragility, there is a rapid growth in the competition rate.

According to Statistics Canada, Vancouver retail sales expanded by 5.7% in September which was higher than that of the previous year which was 2.5%.

Craig Patterson, editor-in-chief of industry publication Retail Insider, stated that Vancouver retail has continued to grow over the years as the city continues to attract more Chinese dealers but he warns that this trend will soon come to a stop as the retail sector is also significantly dependent on tourism.

Patterson added that the retail sector makes about 50% of its essential sales to rich tourists. Presently, cities like Vancouver, Toronto or London attract most buyers of luxury goods mostly because the Brexit has lead to the currency being negotiable.

And with numerous cities globally increasing on their luxury stores, in an event of the Canadian dollar rising suddenly, many retailers will be at risk as their business will no longer be attractive.

Sherman Scott, associate vice-president of Colliers in Vancouver noted that the addition of the Nordstrom department store has hiked interest eastward leaving the western end of Robson Street bearing the negative impacts.

Furthermore, the demand for rental store downtown, also varies by location as retailers are attracted to stores that are high on demand.

But for Mario Negris, executive vice-president of CBRE’s Retail group in Vancouver, sales in Vancouver are way higher than those in other areas such as Toronto. He also added that a tax like the one imposed on foreign buyers in British Columbia will have little effect on retail sales.

Negris noted that he has not yet noticed any sign of the luxury market cooling down instead the demand for Vancouver market is on the increase.

Patterson highlighted that one aspect that should be watched out in Vancouver retails is whether the Pacific Center mall backed by Nordstrom and other leading retailers have the ability to draw more customers away from other markets.

Quite recently, Pacific Centre’s customer level has increased by 30% since Nordstrom was established.

This implies that Vancouver now has two leading luxury retail stores and they are at high competition against each other.

Chinese jewelry giant LFX arrived in Canada on Friday with approximately 300 pieces of imperial jade which was the first time it was brought to Canada to advance on its brand recognition and according to Shi Li-hua the general manager of Shanghai LFX C0.Ltd., Vancouver was chosen instead of New York because of its high ranking position in the luxury goods market.



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