Every year, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) surveys its members around the globe to determine the concepts they consider to be the “hottest and most wanted” for their centers. Here are the winners of ICSC’s 2007 “Hot Retailers” award:
J. Crew—Brought on board in 2003 to revive the company’s ailing fortunes, Mickey Drexler had led a retail renaissance of the iconic brand, transforming it into one of the country’s most successful apparel retailers. With two new concepts—Crewcuts and Madewell—under its belt, J. Crew is on track to open 37 stores this year.
The Little Gym International—A gymnastics-based program for kids 2-to-12 years of age, this franchised provider has 230 sites in the United States. It also offers special programs such as dance, karate and sports skills.
lucy—Created as an online business in 1999, lucy has made a successful leap to bricks-and-mortar retailing with its stylish mix of lifestyle apparel for active women. The company operates 48 stores, with a total of 19 new locations on tap for 2007 and 20 to 30 in 2008.
Uniqlo—Often referred to as the Gap of Japan, Uniqlo operates some 760 stores worldwide. Specializing in low-priced, fashionable-looking casual wear for men, women and children, the chain now has turned its sights on the United States, where it has opened a flagship in Manhattan and several test mall stores.
Ulta—Its mix of one-stop shopping for beauty marries prestige and popular brands with an on-site, full-service salon. With nearly 200 stores, Ulta is looking to open 50 locations in 2007.
WineStyles—The growing popularity of wine is driving the expansion of WineStyles, which offers affordable wines, organized according to eight “taste styles,” in a classic wine-cellar-styled environment. Founded in 2002, it has expanded to 165 franchised locations.
The “Hot Retailers” winners are in good company. Previous winners of the award include Apple Stores, Steve & Barry’s, Build-A-Bear Workshop and Hollister.