February 3, 2014 on http://azremagazine.com
As the market shifts, more retailers are trying to find the most efficient balance of inventory, staff and size, according to Anita Blackford, senior vice president of leasing for Carlyle Group's Metrocenter Mall. She's seeing the theory in practice as Metrocenter fills its voluminous 1.3 MSF.
“We're seeing strong opportunities for local businesses to get a foothold in a mall environment,” she reports. “We're seeing smaller stores, and that's a reflection of lingering economic concerns.” For Metrocenter, this creates opportunities to more closely align with its changing market. The mall's owner is also opening space to community groups and non-profit organizations. The changes in space demand helps facilitate this unique service.
Traffic in Metrocenter is up 10 percent over last year. “Our shoppers are different than some other areas of the metro,” Blackford says. “I'm seeing three generations of families coming into the mall together to shop and be entertained.”
“Right-sizing for efficiency” is what experts are calling the shift in store sizes working its way through shopping centers and malls across the nation.
“While retailers are cautiously optimistic about the coming year, their customers are still worried about jobs and the economy,” Blackford says she hears merchants say.”The thing about 'right-sizing,' is that it doesn't always mean 'getting smaller,'” says Steve Helm, assistant vice president, property management for Macerich. Helm is responsible for managing Scottsdale Fashion Square. “Some stores are growing.”
Bath & Body Works and The Limited, Helm says, know space needs and customer demands. The stores reduced footage, which allowed
Scottsdale Fashion Square to convert the space for another store. On the other hand, Victoria's Secret moved its spin-off, Pink, into a space opening up when another store resized, then Victoria's Secret grew to take over Pink's former space. Other changes include Hugo Boss relocating across the mall into a flagship-sized store to make way for its women's clothing line. Then, lulu lemon leased the former Hugo Boss store. A resized Ann Taylor store left a space for Pink and the new Johnny Was.
The right-sizing trend is something other shopping center managers and owners are seeing across the state. In one extreme version, Kornwasser Shopping Center Properties LLC is going to tear down (read the full article…)