Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Grant Park Shopping Mall 2

Old commercial for Grant Park Shopping Mall.

I wrote back several weeks that something was afoot at Grant Park Shopping Mall.

I speculated initially some of the store closures and moves might be as a result of Target taking over Zellers spot.

The mall made some changes when Walmart took over in 1994 with McNally Robinson and the movie theatres all expanding. Other major anchors moved or were renovated such as the Liquor Mart and Safeway.

It was easy to see say that a few changes might be coming as a result of the Zellers re-branding. Alas though, it the Liquor Mart that is responsible for some of the shuffling going on.

Once the flagship of the Manitoba Liquor Mart chain of stores, the Grant Park location although largest is now second highest in volume after the Dakota location.

The Liquor Mart plans a 1500 square renovation which will see 6 stores moved from the western to central area of the mall. This will result in some closures of some month to month renters. The overall change should help Grant Park reclaim unchallenged leadership as flagship store.

It is heady times for the Liquor Marts. They are are expanding in two locations in the south now after chasing Salisbury House out of the Tuxedo Park Mall. In addition, Manitoba government changes to the liquor laws will make it possible for kiosks of the Liquor Mart to open in stores. This is quite the expansion of the MLCC's reach.

It is an election year and for the NDP government, it is probably looking to kill two birds with one stone: Expand a unionized workplace to further areas and to loosen liquor laws. The greater discussion of liquor laws in general and whether to allow other private vendors in or to sell off or end the Liquor Mart remains to be had.

The government is fairly risk adverse and probably hopes this will be enough to get kudos.

The Liquor Marts do a good job at what they do. However, the question has to be asked if a government needs to own the retailer anymore. Further, a discussion of liquor laws on a wider scale should be undertaken to provide responsible Manitobans with choices and to ensure that issues related to crime, zoning, noise, addiction, FASD, advertising, police enforcement and things as simple as tailgate parties all are discussed.

For Grant Park Shopping Centre, the trick will be to try and keep Target in the mall and not have them decamp like Walmart did before. To do this, it may be necessary for the store to push westward even more so that the location can be larger. However, even that might not suffice given the size of a Super Target.

Lots of changes in the face of Canadian retailing none more-so than how Target transforms the landscape. The importance of smaller regional malls in adapting will be a large factor. Even smaller malls such as the Charleswood Mall opted to ditch the enclosed route and go for box strip mall to great success. Grant Park could find this is the way to go but the presence of so many offices in the mall as well as the movie theatres has probably kept them from going forward thus far.

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