Retail sector may be ‘changing’ but it is not dying

“Everybody is saying retail is dying and e-commerce will be the death of stores. We don’t think that’s true"

Western Investor
July 4, 2019


In what may bring to mind a famous Monty Python dead parrot skit, a leading Saskatoon real estate agency claims retail is not dying, it’s “changing.”

Kelly Macsymic wishes people would stop saying e-commerce is the death knell for bricks-and-mortar stores.

“Television changed retail, credit cards changed retail and the Internet is just another disruptor. It’s not a killer. The question is: how do we adjust to meet the needs of retail in the next five, 10 or 20 years?” said the Saskatoon-based sales associate at ICR Commercial Real Estate.

The loss of big-box retailers such as Sears and Target merely means mall owners have to subdivide the space and bring in multiple smaller tenants instead, she said.

“Everybody is saying retail is dying and e-commerce will be the death of stores. We don’t think that’s true. Instead, we’re going to see stores changing,” she said.

Macsymic posted her thoughts on the topic in a blog on ICR’s website and received a significant amount of positive feedback, including from the former CEO of Sears Canada, Brent Hollister.

“Of all the millions of words/bytes by authors too numerous to count, your analysis in my view was concise, accurate and closest to describing the Canadian retail life cycle as I have experienced it,” he wrote.

Traditional malls today are morphing into service or entertainment centres, Macsymic said. “It’s not all just straight merchandise retail anymore,” she said.

Mountain Equipment Co-op has been confirmed for the former Sears space at Saskatoon’s Midtown Plaza mall. Its 20,000-square-foot store is scheduled to open early in 2020.

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