The bet is that having a digital marketplace will entice shoppers back to the mall
Photo by Justin Tang/The Canadian Press files
The internet didn’t kill the mall like many thought it would during the pandemic, but the owners of some of Canada’s biggest retail spaces aren’t taking any chances.
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Oxford Properties Group Inc. and Primaris Real Estate Investment Trust both have created their own online shopping platforms that mirror some of their physical properties. The bet is that having a digital marketplace that resembles Amazon will entice shoppers back to the mall, especially those jaded by the crowded gallerias and long checkout queues.
Part of the thinking is that online shopping is now the norm, not a fallback, said Lucia Connor, vice-president of marketing at Oxford Properties, the real estate arm of Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System pension fund. The government’s stay-at-home orders during the pandemic meant retail tenants and landlords had to adjust, offering curbside pickup at the mall for example, to keep revenues flowing.
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