Challenges for Edmonton Retailers Bring Big Opportunities for Investors

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Everyone is familiar with the surge in new brand name retailers setting up shop in Edmonton. What they may not know is just how challenging it is for these companies to find space today. Without a doubt Alberta is not just the most attractive location for commercial real estate investment in Canada but also one which is drawing more and more international investors, retailers and other businesses, not to mention workers and new residents. One recent 1st Quarter 2012 retail report boasts 45% of all new Canadian jobs added in the last 12 months came to Alberta. This has kept Alberta’s unemployment rate a steady 2% less than the national average, with Edmonton’s even lower than Calgary.

Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma and Target are just some of the new U.S. brands moving in and many more wanting a piece of the pie as Alberta’s retail sales have continued to grow at a seemingly sustainable but very buoyant 6.5 to 7.5 percent a year. Retail sales volume here stands at 25% more than the national per capita average. There is great money and handsome spreads for retailers who can get in on the Alberta action.

New construction of retail properties is up but it is anticipated these properties are already basically coming to market fully leased due to a big waiting list.  At the end of the first quarter of 2012 the average was just 2.4% with downtown vacancies standing at less than 1%.