In the latest expansion of the notion of "shopping center," Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group last week announced it had developed indoor family entertainment experiences specially designed for retail locations, dubbed "Creactive."
The company says the indoor centers will be installed in premium immersive spaces of about 24,000 square feet and will offer a range of acrobatic, artistic and other Cirque du Soleil-inspired recreation, including bungee jumping, aerial parkour, wire and trampolines, mask design, juggling, circus track activities, dance and more, according to a press release.
The innovative circus troupe has partnered with global real estate firm Ivanhoé Cambridge for its first Creactive center, set to open in September 2019 in the Toronto area. The tie-up further consolidates a relationship between Cirque du Soleil and its minority shareholder, Canadian investment firm Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, of which Ivanhoé is a subsidiary, the company said.
Consumers are spending more of their budget on entertainment, and that should bring more entertainment into shopping malls, according to experts at firms like retail think tank Coresight Research and global strategy and management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.
By 2023, consumers will be redirecting an additional $78 billion in spending to discretionary services at the expense of discretionary goods, on top of the $139 billion that has already gone that way, according to a Coresight report.
And as North American malls (particularly in the U.S.) lose traditional department store flagships and other retailers, the path forward is likely in reimagining malls as "consumer engagement spaces" that cater to consumers "less interested in owning things than in having experiences and accessing functionalities," according to a report from global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.
That means more developments like the Mall of America, established decades ago, and a planned shopping center in the Miami area, both of which feature extensive and elaborate non-retail recreation like restaurants, hotel accommodations and amusement park amenities.
Indeed, the new consumer mindset is an opportunity for Cirque du Soleil, the company said last week, noting how real estate developers are "increasingly looking to offer entertainment experiences that turn malls into holistic destinations."
"Creactive is perfectly aligned with our vision for the future of retail: to join forces with the right partners to offer innovative experiences for the benefits of local families and communities," Ivanhoé Cambridge President of Retail Claude Sirois said in a statement.