On the heels of my post 10 Retail and Consumer Trends That Should Stay in 2016, and with a new year upon us, we have a new set of trends to anticipate. Here are seven Canadian retail predictions I foresee for 2017:
1. Store space changes will accelerate.
Whether it means changes in merchandise mix, hybridization (online ordering, in-store pickup), or downsizing, retailers will be more creative in how they get the most out of each square foot.
2. Foreign retailers will continue to expand in Canada – cautiously.
Uniqlo is taking it slow; Whole Foods has put on the brakes; but exciting players, like Eataly, will also land in 2017.
3. Mobile commerce will come of age.
To all retailers: engaging customers at every step of the journey, on mobile, is now table stakes.
4. The middle class will continue its historic shift in shopping habits.
They’re still out there shopping, but not necessarily in malls.
Predicted winners: Costco, Walmart, Amazon, and Dollarama
Losers: HBC, Sears, and any mall retailer without a significant ecommerce/m-commerce presence
5. Grocery wars will continue in Ontario and across Canada.
Good for the consumer, bad for grocers who can’t serve their core customers well.
Predicted winners: Metro and Walmart
Losers: Sobeys and Safeway
Hold steady: Loblaws
6. One, maybe two specialty retailers will close.
As I’ve written previously, specialty retailers will have to get unique, get efficient, or get out of town.
7. There will be a shakeout at the luxury end of the market.
Right now, too many players are chasing too few dollars.
Predicted winners: Nordstrom and Saks
Losers: Holt Renfrew and Hudson’s Bay (the banner)