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Malls Go Mobile

BY Connie Robbins Gentry

Of the common areas hosted by a mall, the busiest has become the virtual one. Increasingly, consumers frequent mall websites to check out promotions at their favorite retailers. Website views are nothing new — but the escalation in mobile connectivity presents a revolutionary opportunity for retailers.

“In 2009, only 1% to 2% of traffic on a mall website came from a mobile device,” explained John Dee, president of PlaceWise Media. “Today, there are instances when over 40% of mall website traffic connects from a mobile device.”

Responding to this trend, PlaceWise Media, based in Denver, introduced the Shoptopia mall network in October. Shoptopia is a cloud-based integrated digital media network that leverages online, mobile, social and on-premise connections to interact with consumers before, during and after a shopping experience. The most dramatic benefit is that Shoptopia enables each store to communicate on a local level with its shoppers.

“Every retailer in every Shoptopia center has a discreet store page and the ability to communicate information that is most relevant to its customers,” Dee noted.

Southlands, a vibrant outdoor lifestyle center in Aurora, Colo., participates in the Shoptopia network and Sean Belle, store manager at Eddie Bauer in Southlands, advocates the results that can be gained from leveraging connections.

“We looked at traffic trends in our store to identify when we needed to pull customers in; Thursday was consistently our slowest day,” Belle said.

Working with Southlands marketing director, Belle utilized the Shoptopia network to send an email blast inviting consumers in the center’s database and, particularly his store’s loyal customers, to a special “wardrobe” event from 5:00 to close on a Thursday night. As an added incentive, the store held random drawings for Eddie Bauer gift cards throughout the night.

“It was a great success with significantly increased traffic, and year-over-year sales were up 20%,” Belle reported. “By defining the time, I was able to schedule our most experienced, knowledgeable staff.”

Glimcher Realty Trust, Columbus, Ohio, owner and operator of 27 regional centers, also relies heavily on social media and mobile marketing.

“The websites for all of our malls are equipped with social and mobile technologies to engage and interact directly with local customers,” stated Jessi Fausett, Glimcher director of marketing. “In some markets, the mall will do one Facebook post and send one tweet a day; but others — like Pearlridge Center in Hawaii where consumers love to receive messages — the mall may send five to 10 tweets daily.”

Glimcher often utilizes QR codes to engage shoppers. At Jersey Gardens, the number of shoppers who clicked on QR codes to access President’s Day sales information increased 25% this year over last as a result of a “Scan and Save” promotion that shared a QR barcode on posters and flyers distributed throughout the property.

“Ten percent of the views on the website sales page came from mobile devices and were directly attributable to those QR codes,” Fausett confirmed. “Mobile marketing is effective and cost efficient — it won’t replace all traditional marketing, but as newspaper circulation continues to decline, mobile marketing takes its place.”

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Street Appeal

BY Connie Robbins Gentry

On the banks of the Missouri River, in the northwest corner of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, historic St. Charles is home to more than 65,000 people. At the gateway to this fast-growing area, a “mini-city” is emerging: The Streets of St. Charles, developed by Cullinan Properties of Peoria, Ill., will deliver an enticing 1 million-sq.-ft. mixed-use community.

The 26-acre site will become the consummate “live-work-play” environment, providing upscale residential, office, retail, restaurant and entertainment venues. Designed to foster an active pedestrian community, Streets of St. Charles features sidewalk cafes, outdoor gathering places and ample opportunities for residents to walk to work, dine out and purchase daily necessities without leaving their neighborhood.

“The site is in the heart of a well-developed market with solid demographics,” explained Lee Wolfson, VP leasing at Cullinan Properties. “More than 400,000 people live in the surrounding bedroom communities, including a workforce population of 300,000 people within a 10-mile radius, and it is in one of the five most affluent ZIP codes in metro St. Louis.”

Tenants have begun moving into a three-story, 100,000-sq.-ft. structure with retail and restaurants on the first floor; a leading fashion and culinary institute occupying the entire second floor; and third-floor office tenants, including Wamhoff Financial Planning, accounting firm Brown Smith Wallace and engineering firm Cole and Associates. The fashion and culinary institute also has a 4,500-sq.-ft. store on the first level, and will be joined by St. Charles Dental (part of the Heartland Dental Care organization), MassageLuXe, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Tucanos Brazilian Grill.

“In addition to signed leases, we have letters of intent for roughly 90,000 sq. ft.,” Wolfson said. “Many tenants are entering the market for the first time with what will be their only location in St. Louis, so Streets of St. Charles will draw from the greater metropolitan area.”

Construction will start this summer on a 400,000-sq.-ft. residential block with retail and entertainment on the ground level. Roughly 70,000 sq. ft. of this phase will be dedicated to entertainment, and discussions are under way with a theater group, as well as a national comedy club. This second phase will open next year, and the entire Streets of St. Charles project, which will include two hotels, is slated for completion in 2014.

“The property is ideally located at the Interstate 70 and South Fifth Street interchange where 187,000 vehicles pass daily,” Wolfson described. “This is the main interchange for St. Charles’ tourist and special event destinations, including the Historic Main Street district, Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, St. Charles Convention Center and Lindenwood Center for Performing Arts. It’s also between Harrah’s and Ameristar casinos, which together attract 20 million visitors annually.”

The Streets of St. Charles will serve tourists and event patrons, as well as nearby Lindenwood University, home to 17,000 students.

“The space is designed to mitigate traffic congestion,” noted Rob Wetherald, VP development at Cullinan, “with multiple access points into two parking garages housing 2,000 spaces.”

Surface parking will also be available throughout the development, encouraging visitors to join residents in enjoying the pedestrian-friendly lifestyle.

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Extreme Makeover

BY Connie Robbins Gentry

To be truly fashion-forward, a closet must be refreshed periodically. This is equally true for premiere, class “A” regional malls that pride themselves on offering the hottest apparel and most fashionable retail the industry has to offer. If wardrobe success depends on what’s hanging in your closet, shopping centers hang their success on merchandising savvy and tenant mix.

A classic example of an established, highly successful shopping center that is taking its merchandise mix to the next level is Willow Grove Park Mall in suburban Philadelphia, owned and operated by Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT), also of Philadelphia.

Following the Federated/Macy’s acquisition of the May Co., former May brand Strawbridge’s closed its store in Willow Grove Park Mall in 2006. PREIT seized the opportunity created by the vacant anchor space to re-merchandise the mall with an exciting mix of fashion-forward retail and compelling sit-down restaurants.

First to the table was The Cheesecake Factory, which opened in 2007, filling a 10,000-sq.-ft. portion of the wing. After a temporary lull, activity resumed with gusto, and Willow Grove Park welcomed Bravo Cucina Italiana, another upscale eatery occupying 7,500 sq. ft., and the expansion of Forever 21 from its previous location in the center to a larger, two-level 17,000-sq.-ft. space. Both of these tenants opened in the latter half of 2011.

Nordstrom Rack will open its third location in the Philadelphia market on May 10, in a 41,000-sq.-ft. space adjacent to The Cheesecake Factory. And the grand finale of the re-merchandised renovation will be the opening of a 115,000-sq.-ft. J.C. Penney store on October 5.

“We wanted to re-merchandise in a way that would position the property with more than a department store, and we are excited about the great mix of tenants,” proclaimed Joseph F. Coradino, president and, effective June 2012, CEO of PREIT. “This will be one of the first new-format stores opened by J.C. Penney since Ron Johnson took the lead there, and it will showcase Johnson’s new vision for the company.”

The center has always performed well, with strong fashion-oriented anchors in Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Sears. “In spite of Strawbridge’s closing, average sales have continued to exceed $400 per square foot, and the center has maintained a 96% occupancy rate,” Coradino continued.

The Willow Grove Park trade area encompasses a 15-mile radius of affluent suburbs, with a population of 1,400,000 people, roughly 500,000 homes and average household incomes of $75,000. The median age is 38 years old, and 36% of the homes boast an average value of $250,000.

While the renovation of the former Strawbridge’s anchor space will be completed with the opening of the J.C. Penney, re-merchandising is an ongoing process for A+ malls.

“We’d like to bring a third sit-down restaurant to Willow Grove and perhaps add some technology retailers to the mix,” Coradino stated. “We have the opportunity to take this mall to the $500 sales per square foot range — and that’s rarefied air to get to breathe.”

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R.Advocate says:
Apr-15-2013 12:31 pm

Willow Groove Park Mall has a
Willow Groove Park Mall has a good improvement in the make over of the building. It looks so fancy and elegant! -Scott Sohr

R.Advocate says:
Apr-15-2013 12:31 pm

Willow Groove Park Mall has a good improvement in the make over of the building. It looks so fancy and elegant! -Scott Sohr

P.Lopez says:
Apr-10-2013 12:17 pm

Chatrandom.com
If wardrobe success depends on what’s hanging in your closet, shopping centers hang their success on merchandising savvy and tenant mix. Chatrandom.com

P.Lopez says:
Apr-10-2013 12:17 pm

If wardrobe success depends on what’s hanging in your closet, shopping centers hang their success on merchandising savvy and tenant mix. Chatrandom.com

A.Luis says:
Apr-01-2013 04:27 pm

The Willow Grove Park trade
The Willow Grove Park trade area encompasses a 15-mile radius of affluent suburbs office chairs

A.Luis says:
Apr-01-2013 04:27 pm

The Willow Grove Park trade area encompasses a 15-mile radius of affluent suburbs office chairs

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Mar-12-2013 11:05 am

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mamubhai says:
Mar-12-2013 11:05 am

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Feb-21-2013 12:23 pm

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J.Serjen says:
Feb-21-2013 12:23 pm

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N.Nima says:
Feb-21-2013 08:49 am

increases if you are wearing the Several finger. Your heel elevate is Vibram Five Fingers supported thus your spine alignment will probably be corrected and it’s likely that that you is not going to have any spine pain problems at any time. There is lowered risk of bunions if you are wearing your Several finger.

R.Toter says:
Feb-21-2013 07:10 am

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A.Javier says:
Feb-18-2013 08:39 am

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Feb-14-2013 05:17 pm

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D.Dg says:
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Y.Hendriyanto says:
Jan-28-2013 02:04 am

Bank Mandiri
mall is clean and good service is a capital that needs to be taken into account. Bank Mandiri Bank Terbaik di Indonesia is ready to help in finance if the mall did not have any money.

Y.Hendriyanto says:
Jan-28-2013 02:04 am

mall is clean and good service is a capital that needs to be taken into account. Bank Mandiri Bank Terbaik di Indonesia is ready to help in finance if the mall did not have any money.

K.Perro says:
Jan-22-2013 11:35 am

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K.Perro says:
Jan-22-2013 11:31 am

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I really like it. We are talking about a lot of money though... I hope that Coradino knows what's he's talking about. Best wishes and good luck, agora.

K.Perro says:
Jan-22-2013 11:35 am

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K.Perro says:
Jan-22-2013 11:31 am

I really like it. We are talking about a lot of money though... I hope that Coradino knows what's he's talking about. Best wishes and good luck, agora.

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Dec-29-2012 01:03 am

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F.Work says:
Dec-28-2012 09:18 pm

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N.Chen says:
Dec-29-2012 01:03 am

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F.Work says:
Dec-28-2012 09:18 pm

This is honestly looking awesome, I'm going to visit this place, Its terrific:). Zanussi Washing Machine Manual

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