Toronto Urban Retail
Toronto's urban retail availability falls below 10 percent
- Heli Brecailo
Q2 2023 average asking rents across Toronto’s 11 retail corridors increased by 4.4% to $95.49 per square foot
The number of direct ground floor availabilities totaled 126, or 9.65% of the storefronts in the corridors tracked by JLL
Ossington Avenue, Leslieville and Queen Street West (Spadina to Bathurst) were Toronto’s tightest submarkets
Toronto Market Overview
Toronto’s retail sales have kept pace with retail inflation despite increasingly challenging times for local shoppers. Top-performing retail categories include footwear, personal care products, and convenience items, reflecting consumers’ search for value, convenience, and personal well-being.
The food-service industry, particularly full-service restaurants, has performed exceptionally well with provincial sales recently surpassing pre-pandemic levels; while sales have increased, it should be noted that costs, primarily cost of goods and labor, have increased at an even greater rate.
TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) ridership has experienced a significant rebound since the height of the pandemic with overall ridership at approximately 74 percent of pre-pandemic levels and weekend ridership reaching nearly 80 percent. In July, office occupancy rates reached 52 percent (up from 42% in January 2023) signaling a gradual return of workers to the workplace. The increase in attendance on Mondays and Fridays, along with the continued popularity of Wednesdays, suggests that workers are increasing their frequency while maintaining flexibility in their work schedules.
In total, 38 new leases were transacted in Q2 2023 totaling more than 72,000 square feet. Yonge Street (Gerrard to Bloor) and Queen Street West (Spadina to Bathurst) experienced the most leasing activity with eleven and six new leases signed, respectively.
The largest lease of Q2 2023 was completed by JLL where Greta Bar signed a 13,200 square foot lease at 590 King Street West.
Yonge Street (Gerrard to Bloor) recorded the highest leasing velocity with 11 new retail transactions while King Street West (Spadina to Bathurst) had nearly 15,000 square feet of new retail deals.
Food & Beverage (F&B) was the leading category in terms of number of new retail transactions (18) as well as total square footage leased at over 44,500 square feet. Notable transactions include King Taps leasing 7,845 square feet at 620 King Street West, Harlo Entertainment securing 3,750 square feet at 174-176 Ossington Avenue, an unnamed group taking 2,263 square feet at 577 King Street West and Kinton Ramen leasing 1,800 square feet at 351 King Street East.
The average availability rate for the 11 retail corridors tracked by JLL decreased to 9.65%, the lowest figure since the inception of this report. Bloor Street (Yonge to Avenue) had the highest percentage of available retail space (18.75%), while Ossington Avenue (Queen to Dundas) had no retail availability at the end of June 2023.
Average Asking Rent
Average asking rent across Toronto’s 11 retail corridors increased to $95.49 per square foot, led by Bloor Street at $222.73 per square foot and followed by Yonge Street
(Queen Street to Gerrard Street) and Yorkville Avenue (Yonge to Avenue) at $113.14 and $105.83 per square foot, respectively.