What will replace Sears at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria?

What will replace Sears at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria?
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WATCH: It’s the end of an era in Victoria, as Sears closes its doors for the last time at Hillside Shopping Centre. But what should replace it? Tess van Straaten reports.

First Zellers, then Target and now Sears ? closing its doors for the last time at Hillside Shopping Centre, which means the mall once again needs a new anchor tenant.

Sears has been one of the main anchors at Hillside since the mall first opened its doors in 1969 and leaves behind a large, two-level space that few retailers can fill.

But if consumers had their way, many would like Ikea to move into the space. That was the overwhelming response from the public when asked on Monday about what should replace Sears.

Experts say Ikea has been ruled out because the population on the South Island isn’t large enough to entice the Swedish retailer to open a store here.

Bentall Kennedy, which manages the property, wouldn’t comment on who might move into the 149,000 square-foot space but business experts say there are a couple of interesting options.

“It is a big space and there are perhaps some large retailers that could go in there,” says UVic business professor Brock Smith. “The Bass Pro Shop or a Cabela’s are two options. We have those close by but not in Victoria, so the question is whether there is a market here for that.”

B.C.’s first Bass Pro Shop, at Tsawwassen Mills, has been a big success and happens to be 145,000 square feet, while outdoor retailer Cabela’s opened its first B.C. location in Nanaimo in 2014.

Another possibility is another popular U.S. retailer ? Nordstrom’s.

“There may be a potential for a Nordstrom’s,” says Brock. “They’re certainly looking to increase their presence in Canada and I would think in Victoria, there are probably many segments here that fit Nordstrom’s interests.”

Smith says we might also see two smaller retailers share the space but he says a single, high-profile anchor would be a much bigger draw.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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