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by Cole Hobson

While shoppers may disagree with recent policy changes at Champlain Place or be inconvenienced by the mall’s ongoing renovations, Eric Pelletier with Enterprise Greater Moncton says the changes are a sign the retail industry is alive, well and continuing to boom in Metro Moncton.

“It shows that they’re investing in our locality and the company (Cadillac Fairview) has shown that Champlain Place is a major asset to them,” says Pelletier, manager of investment attraction and community relations with Enterprise Greater Moncton. “It’s very positive that they’re reinvesting in their infrastructure in their mall to better suit their clientele and to remain the leading shopping centre in Atlantic Canada.”

The $14-million in renovations is being undertaken at Champlain Place to give the shopping centre a facelift and to make for a better shopper experience, but also perhaps to rejuvenate a mall that is seeing increased competition of late from “big box store” shopping centres like the Trinity Power Centre.

Although he admits power centres are “growing and taking more space” in Greater Moncton, Pelletier doesn’t believe the increase in one type of retail will be at the expense of shopping malls like Champlain Place.

“I think it’s a mix — different venues work for different stores. There’s definitely a good reason for retailers to set up shop in a shopping mall and the model for other big box stores works better in a power centre setting,” he said. “I think we’re going to keep growing the power centres and attracting unique retailers to the shopping malls at the same time. I don’t see them necessarily competing, I see them fulfilling two separate needs.”

While locations all around the Atlantic provinces have seen a growth in the number of power centres and big box stores, Pelletier says the most marked increases have been in the Moncton area.

“If you look at the tourist numbers, there’s as many people who when they’re in Greater Moncton they will be going to Champlain Mall and to the power centre — I don’t see a problem with number of visits on that side,” he says. “For us regionally, the total retail offering works better than one shopping mall or one power centre.”

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