Retail continues to be the belle of the ball in Saskatoon.
According to a new report from Colliers International, the vacancy rate in the city’s retail sector has fallen from 4.3 per cent a year ago to 3.2 per cent at the end of September, thanks primarily to the leasing out of two empty Target stores, which closed in 2015.
Max Lee, a licensed sales assistant at Colliers International said Saskatoon has been under-retailed compared to many other cities across the country but has been catching up. The key to success with recent developments has been locating close to residential developments.
“They’re in areas where people are living and they need services. [Developers] have been successful in attracting tenants to those neighbourhoods,” he said.
One of the most noteworthy newcomers is Save-On-Foods, which opened its first location in South Kensington this summer and plans to add two more outlets in town. Other brand names setting up in Saskatoon include Taco Bell, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Skechers, Party City and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Perhaps the most desired part of town for retailers is 8th Street, Lee said. “Everybody wants to be there but there’s no space,” he said.
There is some light at the end of the economic tunnel, too. The Conference Board of Canada predicts Saskatoon will have GDP growth of 1.6 per cent this year following two years of negative growth, while the city’s population is expected to grow by 2.6 per cent.