The failure of national and international retail chains has pushed Winnipeg’s retail vacancy rate up to its highest level in 15 years.
Teen-clothier Aeropostale is the latest to pull the plug in the city, where it plans to close three stores, one each in the CF Polo Park, St. Vital and Kildonan Place shopping centres. The city’s vacancy rate is now 6 per cent, up from 4.4 per cent just 18 months ago.
Other retailers that have either closed down or reduced their real estate holdings in Winnipeg include Mexx, Jacob, Danier Leather, Le Chateau, Smart Set and of course, Target Canada and Future Shop. The most glaring vacancy is Target’s white elephant near Polo Park, an outlet that was only open for a matter of weeks before the company shut down operations.
St. Vital Centre, Winnipeg’s second biggest mall, has about a half-dozen empty spaces and has seen its vacancy rate rise to 3 per cent.
The hottest part of town continues to be in the southwest, where two large retail developments are now under construction - the Bridgwater Town Centre and the $200 million, 400,000-square-foot Outlet Collection of Winnipeg near the Seasons of Tuxedo development.
One of the anchor tenants at Outlet Collection is Saks off Fifth, which will open a 32,000-square-foot store next spring.