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Challenge 2017: ‘Pets, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ roll’ will Dominate the Retail Landscape



Fred Waks has spent decades as a shopping centre developer watching and anticipating retail trends as chief executive of Trinity Development Group Inc. and former president and chief operating officer at RioCan REIT. But his crystal ball for brick-and-mortar retailers is a little murky as they ponder how to divide up their investments between capital upgrades and technological ones to face a number of threats.

For example, Inc. is taking up a bigger piece of multichannel retailers’ businesses, making them assess their locations and real estate strategies. Meanwhile, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would reduce tariffs on imported goods for a significant number of Canadian retailers, is looking dicier than ever since U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has vowed to withdraw from the pending trade deal on his first day of office in February.

Here, Waks offers his views about where retail is headed in 2017.

Q: Do you think Donald Trump will affect retail business in Canada? And how do you see the current climate affecting retailers and landlords?

A: Trump’s election has not hurt out West — it is having a positive impact on Calgary sales and leasing. We may end up with a stronger dollar, a stronger oil price and, with that, less cross-border shopping. If we have growth and employment as a result of the oil business, it will certainly be a boon to Canadians.

As for the rest, I’ll call my forecast: pets and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

We have done more deals with PetSmart than with any other tenant. When times are good, times are bad or times are iffy, people will not sacrifice their pets. PetSmart is also adapting (to online competition) by opening dog hotels and adding classes.

As for drugs, we have an aging population. I see Rexall (recently purchased by U.S. health-care services and technology company McKesson Corp.) going on a major growth spurt at this point, and they are going to give Shoppers a run for their money.

And rock and roll is about entertainment and interaction. We are doing deals with Cineplex, and Cineplex’s Rec Room (entertainment, gaming and event concept), and we are doing deals with GoodLife Fitness. Food and entertainment are a huge part of what’s going to be driving the business.

Next year, you are going to see a continuation of these trends, particularly in urban centres, because (these businesses) are prepared to go to mixed-use developments.

Q: There was a period 10 to 15 years ago when many retailers believed big-box developments were vastly superior to enclosed malls because rent was cheaper and there were lower common-area costs. What is your take on older power centres now? What about the newer outdoor centres?

A: There is no question that enclosed malls are back to the flavour of the month. I am very concerned about the re-tenanting of the big-box malls that were built in the 1990s, because a huge component of those centres was fashion. And (online operators) have completely killed the fashion big-box portion of retail.

Originally, fashion guys could go in there with huge inventory and very little staff. You can now do that online. That has changed the growth patterns.

TJX (owner of Winners and Marshalls), DSW, Sport Chek and Mountain Equipment Co-op are all still expanding. We are doing business with them in hybrid lifestyle centres with a big-box component.

But it’s not a coincidence that the tenants who are having trouble in the shopping malls are the ones in big-box centres, and they are leaving or not renewing leases.

Q: Green Street Advisors has projected that about 15 per cent of the U.S.’s 1,500 shopping malls will close by 2025. Do you see many malls in Canada with too few tenants, or too many weak ones?

A: It’s survival of the fittest. What’s happening is the institutionally owned malls in major markets that used to be C malls have moved up and remerchandised with better tenants and put money into their common areas. But a number of older malls and B malls have also stepped up.

The best shopping experience I have had in Canada is at Sherway Gardens (in west Toronto). With the expansion and the addition of Indigo and Sporting Life and its food court, it’s as good as Westfield in London.

Q: What is your prediction for luxury retail in Canada?

A: We have gone from one and a half major retailers in that business — Holts and, to an extent, Hudson’s Bay — to having Saks and Nordstrom now. There is not enough disposable income in Canada, I believe, to support four luxury brands.

For a good portion of those luxury brands, their target market is shopping in the U.S. or Europe already. I don’t know how you can sustain those four anchors over time.

Q: How do you think traditional retailers can compete with Amazon, and what does it take to become a great “omnichannel” retailer?

A: For retail focused on entertainment and interaction, Amazon is not going to have an effect. The Internet has already greatly affected the business of certain discretionary retailers.

What is interesting is that the two most innovative omnichannel retailers almost have monopolies. Cineplex has a monopoly, pretty much, and so does Indigo. Maybe that gives them the chance to do research and learn how to augment what they have because they really don’t have somebody nipping at their heels.

That said, I think people are using the Internet to shop, but not necessarily buy: they will research online and go to the store to buy.

As for department stores, they are supposed to be offering the best service. Until they provide service like they do in the U.S., they are going to continue to tread water. Why else would you go to a department store, if not for service?

In the U.S., standard salespeople operate like personal shoppers. They are invested. They will email and call customers. Here, we hire personal shoppers. That said, I think Nordstrom has done a very good job here in terms of personnel.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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