REAL ESTATE

Phillips Edison acquires Ralph’s-anchored center

BY Al Urbanski

Chain Store Age’s “Fastest-Growing Acquirer” for 2016 continues to be hard at it in 2017.

Phillips Edison has purchased Sierra Del Oro Towne Center in Corona, California, about midway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, for $28.6 million, it was announced this week.

Anchored by a Ralph’s Supermarket, the center is built on 11 acres and includes Dollar Tree, Anytime Fitness, Bank of America, Jack in the Box, Domino’s Pizza, and a Children’s Montessori Center. According to Hanley Investment Group—broker of the deal on behalf of seller Cornerstone Development Parters—70% of the current tenancy has occupied space for over 10 years.

“Since 2014, there have been 25 retail properties that have traded for over $20 million in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, according to CoStar. Only six of these properties were grocery-anchored, which speaks to the rarity of this type of property,” said Hanley Executive VP Pat Kent.

Sierra Del Oro’s major appeal is its location, Kent said, adding that household income within a one-mile radius exceeds $104,000 and that more than 156,000 people within a five-mile radius.

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REAL ESTATE

Off-pricer remains bullish on store expansion

BY By Marianne Wilson

Ross Stores continues to build out its store footprint at an aggressive pace.

The off-price retailer opened 21 Ross Dress for Less stores and seven dd's Discounts locations across 15 different states in June and July. The openings are part of the company's plans to add approximately 70 Ross and 20 dd's locations in 2017.

"With this opening group, we continued to expand Ross and dd's in both new and existing markets. Ross grew in its newest market – the Midwest – as well as existing markets, including California, Texas, and Florida," said Jim Fassio, president and chief development officer, Ross.

In June, dd's opened its 200th location and expanded into its newest state of Pennsylvania.

"Looking ahead, we remain confident in our expansion plans and continue to see plenty of opportunity to grow across all of our markets," said Fassio. "We continue to believe that over the long-term, Ross can grow to 2,000 locations and dd's can become a chain of 500 stores."

Ross Stores is headquartered in Dublin, California, with fiscal 2016 revenues of $12.9 billion. Currently, it operates 1, 384 Ross Dress for Less locations in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Guam, and 205 dd's Discounts ouposts in 16 states.

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REAL ESTATE

America’s No. 1 retail experience: Mall of America

BY Al Urbanski

When Chain Store Age embarked on a search for the Top 10 Retail Experiences in the nation, it was hard for us to look past a 5-million-sq.-ft. mall in Minnesota with a roller coaster and a comedy club, as well as an Apple Store and a Hard Rock Café.

It should come as little surprise, then, to see Mall of America occupying the No. 1 spot in our Top 10 countdown that culminates today.

“We’re really appreciative of this recognition,” said Jill Renslow, senior VP of marketing and business development for MOA. “The Ghermezian family had a vision that if they made experience number one, people would come from around the world to visit Mall of America. That original vision continues today.”

It’s been 25 years since the Ghermezians’ Triple Five development company threw down the gauntlet for experiential retail on the site of the demolished Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington. But customer experience has continued to evolve at MOA with new attractions that include SeaLife Aquarium, Flyover America, and The Crayola Experience.

The latest innovation is a testament to MOA’s maturity as a retail experience provider. The property’s got the traffic — some 40 million visitors a year. Now Triple Five’s working on getting them to spend more time in shops with the Enhanced Service Portal, or ESP. Initial results on the store directory app finds it has a user dwell time of just 40 seconds versus three minutes for physical directories.

“We constantly review consumer lifestyles and how they change,” Renslow said. “Our communication command center — or ESP — is aimed at bringing a convenient, customized experience to our visitors. We want them to feel valued.”

It adds value to retail tenants, as well. If it takes shoppers less time to track down any MOA’s 500-plus stores, they have more time to spend money inside of them.

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