Exciting New Tenants Enrich CF Rideau Centre Shopping Experience
The Rideau Centre in the heart of downtown Ottawa has bounced back smartly in the post-pandemic economy.
“A lot of changes and improvements have been made by the retailers,” says Brian O’Hoski, General Manager at CF Rideau Centre. “They’ve really shored up their omnichannel. They’ve made a seamless transition between online and in-store shopping. They’ve been able to transition inventory quickly.”
The 40-year old mall, with about 180 stores and 1.8 million square feet of space, including flagship stores Harry Rosen, Simons, Indigo and Uniqlo, is the fourth busiest mall in Canada, and second busiest in the Cadillac Fairview chain, behind only Toronto Eaton Centre.
Stores like Lululemon and Nike are increasing their footprint size. Both retailers have roughly tripled in size as a result of increased demand for a broader product assortment.
Many retailers in the mall have matched pre-pandemic sales figures, with improved productivity, although foot traffic is still down with fewer public servants in the downtown core at any given time as a result of remote working, says O’Hoski.
However, “we know that the average shopper spend is way up, so people are coming for a purpose,” he adds, noting that with merchandise like fashion, “people still want to touch it, try it on,” as opposed to purchasing online. There is also a social aspect that brings people to the mall.
CF Rideau Centre’s management is particularly excited about several new arrivals.
Uniqlo, headquartered in Japan, is a fashion retailer, known for its casual wear and graphic tees selection. “They’re a powerhouse retailer. We’ve been trying to get them for many years,” says O’Hoski. “It’s an amazing offering – great product, great experience, and the market is really responding well to them.”
Imaginaire, based in Quebec City, just opened a 20,000 square foot store, their first in Ontario. “They are a very unique retailer in the gaming and collectibles space. This started as a 150 square foot stamp store in the 1980s, and it’s grown into this massive collectibles dream for a lot of folks,” O’Hoski says.
“I think it’s going to drive a new customer base and it will be really interesting for a lot of Ottawa residents. So we’re very excited to have them as a new tenant,” he adds.
Arc’teryx, which retails activewear and sports equipment, has a niche product that it offers to a very dedicated loyal customer base, including the many local outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy “all the great outdoor activities that we have to offer in the city,” says O’Hoski.
Ottawa is an excellent venue for attracting first-to-market retailers. Being the nation’s capital has always held some cache, especially in terms of international attraction. And as a government city with federal employees it offers economic stability, he explains.
Cadillac Fairview helps its retail partners succeed in Ottawa and across the country because it offers a national brand and portfolio that its partners know is capable of completing deals in every major city in Canada, explains O’Hoski.
Referring to CF Rideau Centre, he notes, “We’ve got a great team here. It’s the busiest shopping centre in Ottawa, connected with the Shaw Centre and Westin Hotel, which are both tenants of ours. So we’re always delivering fresh traffic and new shoppers to the Centre daily.
“It’s a really great location. It’s got great partnerships, and we’re able to offer that across the entire country.”