Retail in Kamloops:
An Industry Snapshot
Kamloops is the regional geographic centre for commercial trade and services in the Thompson Nicola Regional District, with a primary and secondary trade area exceeding 220,000 people. Retail is the largest sector in Kamloops, employing 12.8% of the total labour force (Stats Can, 2016). The retail industry also made up 7.2% of all business licenses in Kamloops at the beginning of 2019 (City of Kamloops Business License Directory, 2018 Summary). Colliers reports that Kamloops has just over 5 million square feet of retail space in the city. Employment trends forecast a growth from 6,570 jobs in retail trade in 2016 to a total of 6,940 in 2026 (Kamloops 2016 Real Estate Market Assessment, Site Economics).
Together with national, regional and independent retail stores, Kamloops offers a wide variety of businesses geared toward all aspects of shopping. The city has two enclosed shopping centres as well as many big box-style retail centres. Aberdeen Mall, the largest of the two enclosed malls, is a two level regional centre with over 85 shops and services ranging from small boutiques to major retail chains.
Paired with the North Shore, downtown has a vibrant shopping area boasting numerous specialty shops and a variety of restaurants and lounges with outdoor patios for spring through fall dining.
Kamloops’ Competitive Advantages for the Retail Industry
Abundant Labour Force
Kamloops has a large labour force available service the high demand in the retail sector. With a projected annual growth rate of 1.1% for 2019, as well as a university population to draw from, the labour force is educated, skilled and ready to work.
One of Kamloops’ advantages is its geographic location in the province of British Columbia. As the transportation hub of the B.C. Interior, the city lies at the crossroads of B.C.’s four major highways and Canada’s two main railways. This centralized geography facilitates incredible visitation to the city year round. Additionally, as Canada’s Tournament Capital, Kamloops saw more than 29,500 competitors and family arrive in 2013 for a variety of tournaments and sporting events. The strength of the tourism industry is bolstered by destination golf, ski resorts, recreational lake access and in 2017, saw 1.8 million visitors to the city, with an estimated $270 million indirect visitor expenditures (Tourism Kamloops, 2017).
Kamloops has a vast landscape with plenty of room in which to play and engage in an array of recreational opportunities, all while enjoying over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually. Housing is affordable and the cost of doing business is competitive, plus the area boasts exceptional schooling options and healthcare services. Employee retention is high in Kamloops with employees citing an affordable, quality of life in the region as a major plus.
Incentives for the Retail Industry
Revitalization Tax Exemption Program
This tax incentive encourages revitalization and new development in Kamloops’ downtown city centre. Property owners (individual or companies) are eligible for a 5-year tax holiday which includes an additional 4-year phase-in period so by the tenth year they are paying the full tax commitment. More Information
Retail Industry Organizations
Kamloops Central Business Improvement Area (KCBIA)
The Kamloops Central Business Improvement Area is comprised of a Board of Directors, a General Manager, and a part-time Membership Services Coordinator. The mission is to promote business growth and economic development in a format that will make the central business area of Kamloops a better place to visit, live and work. More Information
North Shore Business Improvement Association (NSBIA)
The North Shore Business Improvement Association is an association of commercial property and business owners with a mandate to expand business opportunities on the North Shore of Kamloops. More Information