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Oakridge Centre shoppers spend more per square foot than most in North America

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Oakridge’s marketing strategy to boost foot traffic in the mall features brown-paper dresses made by Langara’s design formation students. / ASH KELLY photo
Oakridge’s marketing strategy to boost foot traffic in the mall features brown-paper dresses made by Langara’s design formation students.
/ ASH KELLY photo

Shoppers have dropped enough dough to make Oakridge one of the most productive malls in North America, according to retail-insider.com.

Ryerson retail management student Hilary Taylor compiled the list, which ranks North American shopping centres by sales per square foot.

This year Oakridge ranked the fourth most productive of the five Canadian malls that made the cut. Pacific Centre was the only other B.C. shopping centre on the list.

Mall says its marketing strategy is paying off 

Oakridge marketing director Barbara Longland attributed the mall’s success to constantly adapting marketing strategies and a changing demographic.

“Oakridge has traditionally captured the Vancouver West Side since it opened in 1959. Our retail mix has evolved as our shopper has changed, and we continue to provide an upscale shopping experience for our customers,” Longland said in an email.

As part of this strategy Oakridge hosts a series of unique events. Shoppers can expect to encounter a grand piano show, live performances by the Vancouver Bach Choir at Christmas and kung fu demonstrations during Chinese New Year.

Currently Oakridge is displaying the popular brown-paper dresses designed by Langara design formation students.

High-end boutiques cater to neighbourhood style

Langara retail marketing instructor Kevin James said the Oakridge neighbourhood demographic has changed from middle class to upper-middle class, and shoppers’ tastes are now more geared toward the luxury items Oakridge offers.

“A lot of the stores in that particular mall are kind of higher end,” James said. “You’ve got stores like Harry Rosen in that particular mall, and so when you combine a high-end retailer like that with a relatively high volume . . . it’s kind of the perfect mix.”

Doug Snow, president of the British Columbia Shopping Centre Association, said he was surprised to see Oakridge so high on the list because he was under the impression that American malls were ringing in more sales.

But he said it’s Oakridge’s luxury brands and the affluent locals that make it possible for such a small shopping centre to compete with bigger players.

“They’re all very high-end stores,” Snow said. “People have got a lot of disposable cash in that area.”

Reported by Ash Kelly

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