Some thoughts about Sears Capilano Mall from Elizabeth James (former contributing writer for the North Shore News et al):
NORTH SHORE RETAIL HEADED FOR SHAKE-UP IN 2018
The imminent loss of Sears Canada’s two-storey, 124,911 square foot anchor
store at Capilano Mall cannot help but send aftershocks throughout the North
Shore retail industry and beyond. Indeed, judging by other already-closed
small stores, the Mall atmosphere on a mid-November Saturday suggested
the New Year will usher in major changes as to where and how we shop for
the goods we need.
The reasons for Sears’ demise vary across the country. Locally, though, it is
easy to point to several factors that, for a decade or more, have contributed
to its decline and fall in this area.
The siting of Walmart at the other end of the mall and the increased
popularity of online shopping are two obvious factors.
Looming large, though, has to be the stubborn refusal to move with the times
on the part of Sears’ owners and management. They failed to refresh the
store’s product lines. They failed to adjust their price points on furnishings
and kitchen ware, electronics and other higher-budget items relative to the
easy-access presence of Walmart, Costco, Canadian Tire and IKEA.
Most of all, they failed customers and sta7 by not providing a more exciting
alternative to the same-old, humdrum shopping experience we saw at the
Capilano Mall outlet.
Retail 101: a store can get away with higher prices than its neighbours, but
only if it o7ers unique and/or higher quality products.
It boggles the mind that the 65 year old Sears Canada has been so lacking in
business acumen not to know that.
So what of the health of the mall itself? Does it have another “major” waiting
in the wings to replace Sears? Or do the tired surroundings and the delays in
@xing parking ramps, elevators and other such renovations presage a move
toward a total re-development of the 401,000 square foot prime real estate
site on Marine Drive. (If you don’t like that idea – keep tabs on CNV council!)
Traditionally, Canada’s retail industry has been a major contributor to the
country’s economy. Yet, as its population increased, the North Shore has
su7ered the domino losses of not only the nearby and much-loved Downtown
Woodwards in 1993, but also of West Vancouver’s Eaton’s Department Store
in 1999 and of the North Vancouver Zellers in 2013.
So what now for North Shore shoppers and those seeking retail jobs close to
Well some of the answer lies within ourselves. Online and cross-border
shopping may be tempting, but if we adjust to that and send our retail
industry out of the country, Sears Canada will not be the only contributor to
unemployment; we will be too. And if people cannot find jobs, they cannot
buy goods and they certainly will not be paying the taxes governments need
to support all the services we demand.
Is that where retail is headed in 2018?