Record Year for Retail Investment in Vancouver, With More International Brands Moving In

Retail investment volumes in first half of 2017 surpassed all of 2016, the previous record year, by 75 per cent

Vancouver, BC – October 10, 2017 – According to new numbers from CBRE Canada, retail investment in Vancouver has hit over $2.8 billion in H1 2017 alone, breaking all records for the previous 15 years. The first half of 2017 has already seen the highest investment volumes on record, with total retail investment surpassing the previous record year – $1.6 billion in all of 2016 – by 75 per cent. 

Vacancy rates in downtown Vancouver continue to remain at historically low levels at 2.9 per cent, with mostly consistent rental rates and international brands continuing to drive new demand for retail space in the city. 

“The common perception that brick and mortar retail is in bad shape, due to the growth of e-commerce sales, has not proven true in Vancouver,” says Martin Moriarty, Associate Vice President of Retail Leasing & Investment at CBRE Vancouver. “Not only has the incredible investment volume seen in Vancouver retail this year contradicted this perception, so has the increasing number of international brands moving in. A seismic change is coming and Vancouver should be particularly proud of the world-class retail streetscape that is evolving.” 

On Robson Street, five major international brands opened stores in the past year or announced they will be opening soon, including Muji from Japan, Bailey Nelson from Australia, Laduree from France, Nike from the U.S. and the Vancouver-based athletic wear designer, Reigning Champ. 

On Alberni Street, the demand for space is exceeding supply. A number of new stores are entering the market - including Van Cleef & Arpels, the French jewelry, watch and perfume brand, and Hublot, the Swiss luxury watch brand - with more to follow in the remainder of the year. 

“The expansion of international brands into the Vancouver retail market is transforming the city,” says Moriarty. “In this market, we are now doing more exciting deals than ever before because brands from cities all over the world, including London, Tokyo, Paris, Geneva and Sydney, are attracted to Vancouver’s growing international reputation. This is good news for Vancouverites and the competitive retail environment in our beautiful city.”

Gastown also saw an increase in the presence of international retailers with COS and Filson opening locations in 2017 and a second Bailey Nelson location to open soon. The influx of these dynamic retailers, in addition to the new 5,000 square foot flagship store for Herschel, a local success story, is adding much needed vibrancy to the historic Gastown neighborhood. 

One of the biggest changes coming to the international brand scene in Vancouver will be the new space of Japanese retail giant, Muji. Their biggest North American store will be 16,000 square feet on Robson, anticipated to open later this year. 

“We’ve all heard talk of e-commerce eliminating traditional, physical retail in a decade or two, but the reality is that e-commerce commanded only 2.2 per cent of sales in Canada in 2016,” says Moriarty. “This is not the death of retail, but rather a renaissance.”

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2016 revenue). The company has more than 75,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through about 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. Please visit our website at

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