Move over malls, here come shipping containers

Shipping containers no longer just haul consumer goods. Now, they also host chic boutiques brimming with bits and baubles.

What happened: Stackt Market, a Toronto shopping centre made of repurposed shipping containers, signed a new 10-year lease and plans to add locations in Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver by the end of the year. It’s part of a growing wave of shipping container markets.

Big picture: With low-priced and short-term leases — in 2021, leases started at $1,900 a month and were capped at 45 days — Stackt provides a venue for small local sellers to get their feet wet or for bigger brands to test out new products and ideas that malls just can’t offer.   

  • Its unique semi-outdoor design also makes it a cool photo op and fun place to spend an afternoon, tapping into the increased consumer desire for experiential shopping.

Why it matters: With traditional malls still struggling and notable mall-centric retailers like The Body Shop and Ted Baker dropping like flies, Stackt’s expansion will be a test to see if the concept becomes a core part of retail’s future. If not, at least those shipping containers can be easily disassembled and moved elsewhere.—QH