Retail Trends for 2018: Store Openings and Store Closures

2018 has been a paradoxical year for retail trends so far. In the past year, we’ve seen major retailers declare bankruptcy and go out of business, like the Sears Canada closure and the ToysRUs bankruptcy. But here’s the funny thing: in the midst of all this, we’re also seeing major store expansions. International retailers, such as Miniso are coming to Canada. Canadian retailers, such as Indigo are expanding to the U.S. And e-commerce-only sites, such as Travelocity, are opening bricks and mortar stores. What’s going on?

With all this in mind, we’re looking at what other retail trends 2018 might bring as we navigate these changes, plus incorporate new ones.

  1. Filling the Sears Canada gap

Early 2018 saw the last of the Sears Canada store closures, leaving in their wake a lot of empty storefronts Real Estate. These store spaces — many times the anchors at malls and shopping centres — will need to be filled. It’s been speculated that grocery retailers might move into some. Retail Insider reports that some landlords might split up the stores for multiple tenants, or demolishing for redevelopment.

  1. More store closures & bankruptcies

While it’s too early to tell now, it seems likely there will be more stores following in Sears Canada’s footsteps. J. Crew has been struggling and closed two GTA locations in August. Toys R Us declared bankruptcy in September. Other store closures in 2017 included American Apparel, BCBG, Bebe, and Express. Unfortunately, we’ll likely see more brands shutter their doors in 2018.

  1. International retailer competition

In 2017, while there were store closures, there was also an opposite: an influx of international retailers coming into Canada. Miniso, a value-priced Chinese retailer similar to Dollarama, is planning to open 100 stores across Canada this year. Other international retailers, such as Off-White, Bailey Nelson, SEE Eyewear, DXL Men’s Apparel, and Sugarfina are all looking to open new Canadian locations.

  1. Store openings for Canadian-grown brands

Speaking of expansions, it’s not only international brands planning to widen their reach. Canadian-grown retailers are also making big moves in 2018. SpinCo, Swarovski, Kotn, and Saje Wellness are all expanding their brands. And there’s a new type of retailer that will likely be making waves: cannabis. If the introduction of legal marijuana in six months goes through, there will be stores set up nation-wide.

  1. Digital store expansion

E-commerce is already a trend in the grocery sector to watch, and it’s likely to continue growing for other retailers, too. While not a traditional bricks and mortar expansion, we think it’s likely that many stores will be turning their attention to their online presence. The slow growth of e-commerce has been cited as a reason for Sears Canada’s bankruptcy and closure. To stay competitive, especially as more international retailers move in, we believe brands will be looking at their e-commerce offerings and stepping it up.

How can you stay ahead of the retail trends? Marketsupport Canada. We can help make sure your in-store and digital presence are attracting the customers and revenue you desire. We’re also available to help with store openings and store closures. Learn more about our services by calling 1-877-421-5081 or visiting

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