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Vancouver Retail Report Fall/Winter 2022

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Vancouver Retail Report FallWinter 2022

Vancouver retail saw a divergence between urban and suburban locations in the latter half of 2022 as changes in consumer behavior and the toll of pandemic-related challenges forced more businesses to close. The impact of rising interest rates and inflation, alongside the continued prevalence of working from home in 2022, has resulted in a retail sector - that while still strong - is now entering a period of recalibration.
A softening economic outlook in the latter half of 2022 had the highest repercussions on urban retail, opening up some new vacancies. Urban “high street” locations saw an increase in vacancy, related to rising vacancy rates in Vancouver’s downtown office market and continued low foot traffic.
Suburban numbers were very different. Grocery-anchored shopping centre locations, especially those close to dense residential areas well-serviced by transit, have seen an incredible increase in demand. This scarcity of options has driven retailers to focus on new suburban developments, particularly in mixed-use developments in destination locations and high-density areas.
Some key insights from the report: 

  • The highest urban retail vacancy rates are in the Central Business District locations, including Robson (between Thurlow and Bute Streets), Gastown and Kitsilano.
  • Tenants looking to locate in suburban areas are exceptionally challenged in finding options. As a result, the focus of demand is projects yet to be constructed, with the recently approved Broadway Plan a key target.
  • With the Bank of Canada implementing seven interest rate hikes in 2022 to slow inflation, retail spending is moderating.
  • E-commerce sales are hovering at around 6% of total retail sales, a strong indicator for the value of bricks and mortar retail.
  • Consumers appear to be reigning in spending as a result of inflation; however, there has been a surprising growth in the clothing and fashion sector, with an increase of 27% year to date in fashion spending across Canada; this while other sectors such as car dealerships and electronics stores are struggling.


Vancouver Retail Report Fall/Winter 2022

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For More Information, Please Contact:

Susan Thompson

Associate Director, Research

Vancouver - Rogers Tower

Susan is a long-standing analyst and commentator on the commercial real estate market.  Her continuing work with local, national, and international media as a commentator for the commercial real estate sector has given her recognition within the industry as one of the preeminent sources of information and knowledge for leasing and transaction analysis and market trends.

Susan was previously with Avison Young working as their Research and Insight Manager over the course of nine years  (a boomerang employee: with them for four years, away for five years, then back for five years). She was responsible for dozens of reports on the Calgary commercial real estate market, covering office, retail and industrial leasing as well as business condominium properties and commercial property sales. More recently she focused on data-driven storytelling through reports, media work, and client engagement utilizing techology and analytics to help make better-informed decisions. 

In between periods with Avison Young, she spent over five years with Calgary Economic Development; first as their Business Development Manager specializing in Real Estate, helping companies bringing their business to Calgary navigate the local commercial real estate market, then as their overall Research Manager providing economic analysis and commentary on the Calgary market.

In prior years, after starting her career in assessment, Susan spent over seven years with RealNet Canada, the leading provider of third-party commercial real estate sales information. Working her way up from Research Analyst to Manager for the Calgary office, Susan analyzed thousands of commercial real estate transactions and is extremely knowledgeable about the commercial real estate market in Calgary. 

Susan has a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with a major in Management Science from the University of Alberta. Well recognized in the industry, Susan’s name is often seen in the media as she provides commentary and insight on current commercial real estate topics. Susan's breadth of knowledge across the commercial real estate market and in data analytics is an asset across the industry.

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