Skilled workers in high-paying positions fuel expansion of a variety of retailers. Companies competing on the global stage remain committed to the Greater Toronto Area, leading to numerous announcements over the past year of new hiring initiatives and increased business investment. Talent is heading to Toronto in strong numbers, growing the consumer base and driving local and international retailers to grow their footprint across the metro. Chick-fil-A has plans to open 15 stores over the next five years, while more recent openings include Nordstrom Rack, Levi’s, Jollibee and UNIQLO. With e-commerce remaining a small portion of overall retail sales in Canada, retail space has been in high demand, keeping the market vacancy rate near 3 percent for a year and half, accounting for stable rent growth.
Strong household growth fueling increased development in Toronto’s suburbs. More than 11 million square feet of retail space has been built across the GTA since 2012, with another several million on tap over the next few years. Construction has been strong in the Peel submarket, where at least 20 projects are underway, followed by the Toronto West area as household growth has been strong in these neighborhoods. The largest delivery of the year will be farther east in Markham, though. It is called King Square and it is an Asian-themed upscale shopping centre that totals 340,000 square feet.