When a new major retailer moves into your neighbourhood, pay attention. In March 2013, Target Corp. began opening the first of its approximately 125 store openings in Canada. The U.S. retail giant announced in 2011 it was moving north with a $1.8-billion acquisition of up to 200 Zellers store leases, with most of the initial openings coming from renovating existing Zellers locations. While the expansion may not have gone quite as planned, with Canadian consumers not exactly enthralled with Target’s product offerings and pricing strategy, there’s no question the move will continue to have a significant impact on the Canadian retail landscape – particularly as the company builds greenfield outlets in new neighbourhoods.
Now comes news that Wal-Mart plans to spend $500 million completing 35 supercentre projects over the next year. The U.S. retailer says it will spend more than $376 million to build, expand, relocate or remodel stores, as well as invest additional funds on operational improvements.
For homeowners and prospective homebuyers, this is all good news – and a very good reason to pay attention. Such major retail expansion is a significant influence on land development and housing – in short, on your current or prospective neighbourhood.
When the likes of Walmart, RONA and other major players set up shop, particularly in a new location, it’s a good sign a neighbourhood is on the rise. Like proximity to mass transit, schools and other amenities, being close to shopping is a major attraction for builders and, of course, prospective homebuyers. These features are among the key to enjoying your home while you live there, as well as for potential resale value in the future.
Large retailers and commercial ventures don’t just pop up in the middle of nowhere or in declining neighbourhoods. These companies make careful, long-range and well planned-out decisions in lockstep with municipalities and developers, based on hard data, research and demographic information.
This is why major retail expansion is good news: it’s an indicator the economy continues to strengthen; and, for those looking to buy a home, it’s a sign to look out for new or expanding neighbourhoods and solid buying opportunities. Such retail developments, combined with the associated employment gains and economic and infrastructure improvements, point to new and expanding homebuying opportunities.
So, while you’re out there looking for your new home, look around for the big box stores. If they see a bright future for your prospective neighborhood, chances are it will make a sound buying decision for you.