There are three main malls in Winnipeg: Polo Park, St. Vital, and Portage Place. However, for a traveller, you will not find much particularly unique about any of these malls, at least not enough to give you any real local "flavour."
So, why not get out of the mall scene and get out onto the street?
While you're in Winnipeg, make sure to visit Corydon Ave., Osborne Village, the Exchange District, and Wolseley.
The "L" shaped area of Corydon Ave. and Osborne St. is roughly equivalent to an area like Toronto's Queen Street. Down these two streets (which connect at the end of both of their shopping districts), you'll find a large number of funky gift boutiques, unique and modern hipster clothing outlets, and speciality shops that specialize in tasteful and hard-to-find items.
For clothing, check out Osborne's Out of the Blue (which also sells giftware), Urban Waves (punk - urban - local designers), Sedgi (all local designers), Yee-Lai, and the Crypt (gothic - industrial - punk), or Corydon-area shops like Fino and Leo.
For funky giftware, visit Silver Lotus, Ooh La La, Theo, the Wasabi store, or Out of the Blue.
The area also is home to Kustom Kulture (which specializes in counterculture books, gifts, and "head shop" standbys), a variety of happening lounges, sushi cafes, and coffee shops (Carlos & Murphy's, Fuel, Wasabi, the G-Martini Bar, etc).
In Wolseley, make sure to visit Lucy's Hidden Closet (breathtaking, hard-to-find clothing of various edgy styles and romantic influences), and in the Exchange District, check out Cake Clothing and Ragpicker's Antifashion Emporium on McDermot, and the large number of antiques and vintage shops in the area.
What to buy: Winnipeg has a wealth of local designers: stores that carry them include Urban Waves and Sedgi.