The final closing of the last Sears stores in Canada yesterday is a major challenge for shopping centers, which now have huge premises to rent. In total, 20 million square feet are left vacant by the departure of the retail giant.
Sears operated 139 stores across the country, ten of which were owned by Cadillac Fairview.
Among them, the Galeries d’Anjou store for which the group does not exclude any hypothesis. Indeed, the space released by the departure of the giant could be subdivided to accommodate several smaller stores, be transformed into offices for professionals and even housing units.
It must be said that the Galeries d’Anjou are barely recovering from the departure of Target, in 2015. It is only last summer that the shopping center inaugurated its new section while the huge local abandoned by the American giant has been divided into three new premises.
So it’s not tomorrow the day before that Sears’ vacant premises will be occupied again.
Especially as with the growing online trading business, the future of retail stores is going through smaller spaces.
“We will have to stop thinking of doing business as we did in 1960,” warns Daniel Lafrenière, strategist in customer experience. “The inventory is no longer in the store. We give the client an experience, insists Mr. Lafrenière. Does this apply to all consumers or all types of shops? The answer is no.” Several conversion plans are on the table. “Be it residential, offices or hotels, to consolidate our various positions,” says Claude Sirois, president, shopping centers, Ivanhoe Cambridge. So, indeed, in some cases, it should not be surprising that there are other related uses, complementary to the present commercial use. ” Some locals will see their transformed vocation. Residential projects, such as condo towers, are even considered.