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Retail industry preparing for 2010 Games

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"Canadian Tire will put their Mark’s Work Wearhouse inside some of their main stores as a pilot program for boosting cross-shopping," said Nelson.

A new Home Depot Design Store planned for the Village at Park Royal Shopping Centre in North Vancouver in August 2004 will allow shoppers, "to visualize plans and drafts for kitchens and bathrooms," she said.

And many Home Depots have started selling large appliances along with décor and storage items. It’s been so successful that Home Depot has captured 2 per cent of the market share in appliances in Canada in a very short time.

Vancouver is also experiencing another of the newest trends in retail – the development of larger stores in the downtown core.

"Many of the International Council of Shopping Centres members and developers are looking back into the city instead of looking at the suburban environment," said Blake Hudema of the Vancouver Hudema Consulting Group Ltd.

"It is a great revitalization of the inner-city retail market for our industry.

He pointed to the addition of Future Shop and Winners to Robson and Granville, and at 7 th and Cambie Grosvenor Canada is developing a large-format retail shopping centre.

The trend is being fuelled by a continuing demand for current retail in those areas and growth in the suburbs is slowing down.

More development in the populated areas of Vancouver and an increase in the need for downtown office space will also flow from the process to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games said conference keynote speaker David Podmore of Concert Properties.

One of the key areas businesses will be able to find opportunities leading up to and during the Games will be in supplying goods and merchandize.

He told a packed conference room that the Winter Games in 2002 in Salt Lake City used 400,000 pounds of ground beef for burgers for the volunteers. And Vancouver will need 12,000 miles of fibre optic cable.

"There is a whole range of things that are required," he said.

"They’ll need uniforms, shoes, all manner of clothing, equipment, phones. And that will find its way down into our community with a need for graphic designers and so on. It will be quite significant."

There is a concern, said Podmore, that there are not enough workers to get the entire infrastructure in place.