The Impact of Corporate Concentration on the Canadian Retail Economy

  • Christopher Daniel Ryerson University
  • Tony Hernandez Ryerson University
Keywords: Retail Structure, Corporate Ownership, Locational Strategies.


Canada’s retail landscape is increasingly being controlled by major corporations and foreign capital. This paper provides an analysis of corporate restructuring and associated locational imprints within the Canadian retail sector. It addresses the reorganization of retail capital emerging from ongoing processes of globalization, consolidation and organic growth in Canada’s Top 95 retail conglomerates. The paper focuses on three aspects of the country’s leading retailers: their economic profiles, market concentration, and the emerging location strategies. The paper highlights the dominance of major corporation retail chains, estimates market share for these companies and the associated high degree of market concentration by sector, and provides evidence of the growth strategies employed by a number of the leading retailers in Canada. The paper concludes by identifying a number of key areas for future research


Bodkin, C. and Lord, J. (1997) Attraction of power shopping centers. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 7(2): 93-108.

Boyle, R.J. (2003) US retailers expanding into Canada: Will it ever end? ICSC Research Quarterly, 10(3): 1-3.

Davies M. and Clarke I. (2004) A framework for network planning. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 22(6): 6-10.

Guy, C. (1994) The Retail Development Process. London: Routledge.

Hahn, B. (2000) Power centers: A new retail format in the United States of America. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 7: 223-231.

Hernandez, T. (2003) The impact of big box internationalization on a national market: A case study of Home Depot in Canada. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 13(1): 77-98.

Hernandez, T., Jones, K. and Maze, A. (2003) US Retail Chain in Canada. CSCA Research Letter 2003-10, Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity, Ryerson University, Toronto.

Hernandez, T. and Simmons, J. (2007) Evolving retail landscapes: Power retail in Canada. The Canadian Geographer, 50(4): 465-486.

ICSC (2004) Shopping Center Definitions. International Council of Shopping Centers, New York, ICSC.

Jones, K. and Simmons, J. (1993) Location, Location, Location: Analyzing the Retail Environment. 2nd Edition. Toronto: Nelson Canada.

Jones, K., Evans, W. and Smith, C. (1994) New formats in the Canadian retail economy. Journal of Shopping Center Research, 1: 161-208.

Jones, K. and Doucet, M. (2000) Big-box retailing and the urban retail structure: The case of the Toronto area. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 7: 233-247.

Jones, K. and Hernandez, T. (2006) Dynamics of the Canadian retail environment. In Bunting, T. and Fillion, P. (eds.) Canadian Cities in Transitions. Toronto: Oxford University Press, pp. 287-305.

Lorch, B. and Hernandez, T. (2007) The functional reconfiguration of Canadian regional shopping malls. Paper presented at Corporate Geography Conference, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, February 22nd-24th.

Scherer, F.M. and D. Ross. (1990) Industrial Market Structure and Economic Performance. 3rd Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

Simmons, J. and Graff, T. (1998) Wal-Mart comes to Canada. CSCA Research Report 1998-09. Centre for the Study of Commercial Activity, Ryerson University, Toronto.

Simmons, J. and Kamikihara, S. (2005) Commercial activity in Canada, 2004. CSCA Research Report 2005-04. Toronto, Ryerson University.

Thorne, S. (1999) Powering up Canadian centers. Shopping Centers Today, June, ICSC, New York. pp. 40-42.

Wen, J. (2001) Market power in grocery retailing: Assessing the evidence for Canada. Report prepared for the Competition Bureau of Canada. Industry Canada site:

Wrigley, N. (2000) The globalization of retail capital: Themes for economic geography. In Clark G.L., Feldman, M.P. and Gerther, M.S. (eds.) Handbook of Economic Geography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.292-356.