Businesses within Regina-based shopping centres Northgate, Cornwall and Southland took a hit this January as several stores closed their doors.
“It’s unfortunately a lot more complicated than one expects,” said Mitchell Cohen, Chief Operating Officer of Westdale Properties (the company that owns Northgate), “Firstly, retail has been changing for hundreds of years, since the first general store has popped up in the prairies, retail has changed.
“Every couple of years, it makes turns here and turns there, it’s always changing. The shopping mall model has been around for decades and it’s under pressure, primarily because of internet shopping. Internet shopping has completely changed the way that we buy, the way that we shop, it has changed everything. And you couple that with the economic headwinds that continue to impact Canada and, specifically, Saskatchewan.
Well, retailers have had a tough go. And it’s not something we take lightly, we’re very concerned about it.”
Bruce Anderson, an Instructor of Strategy and Policy in Business Administration at the University of Regina, spoke on the challenges stores go through in the Queen City.
“Well, I don’t think we can simply assume that the stores closing means that all stores will close,” said Anderson. ”There’s some challenges in retail, one of the challenges is having customers and having an experience with customers.
“I think that businesses that are able to create an experience and create a reason for customers to visit them will still continue to do strongly. The challenge with the mall environment is that the malls are very expensive, somebody’s got to pay for the open space, somebody’s got to pay for the roof on top of the building and all of that kind of stuff.”
These are among the stores at the Northgate, Cornwall and Southland that will no longer be open for business:
Motherhood Maternity (closed in December)
La Senza (closed Jan. 25)
Lowe’s (closing Feb. 14)
Gift Etc. (closing at the end of Feb.)
Things Engraved (closed Jan. 25)
Stellar Gear (closed Jan. 24)
Things Engraved (closed/closing)
Carlton’s Cards (within the next few weeks)
Escents (closing sometime this month)
Volcom (closed Jan. 11)
Eddie Bauer (closed Jan. 24)
The Bench (some time coming up)
Carlton Card’s and Papyrus (a former store of the Cornwall) are not only closing in Regina, but other stores in the franchise are permanently shutting their doors across North America.
A customer who wished to remain anonymous spoke of the closing of Carlton’s Card stating “It sucks. Not everybody shops online, you know?”
Employees from Carlton’s Card who also wished to remain unnamed, couldn’t say much about the closing other than “its happening.”
Christine Uscanova, a manager at Eddie Bauer in Cornwall, spoke on why the store was closing and what changes were occurring.
“As we’ve heard it, they couldn’t find an agreement with rent,” Uscanova said. “So, I guess the rent is too high for us to be in the mall.
“Comparing to other stores, or comparing to other malls, to me, it seems that Cornwall Centre is one of the dying malls, because, as we know in the future, the Bench is closing in a couple of weeks Canada wide. Who knows what’s going to happen with Hudson’s Bay? They’re already reducing the hours. So there’s going to be lots of free space.”
These closings offer a stark contrast to the growth in business occurring in small town Saskatchewan, such as Raymore, where businesses look to be on the rise.
With regards to new stores opening, it has been confirmed that the Cornwall Centre will receive an Urban Planet on Feb. 21st. As well, Cohen spoke on adding an entertainment venue in the Northgate.