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Puget Sound-ness

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Puyallup (pew-all-up) is a challenge to pronounce, but the community near Tacoma in the state of Washington is proving to be a sure-footed path to retail success.

Just ask J.C. Penney, which expanded its existing anchor store presence at Puyallup’s regional shopping center South Hill Mall, which is currently undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation.

The department store has experienced sales increases of 40% per foot since it absorbed a vacant Mervyn’s space for its Men’s and Home store last May, according to Don DeSalvo, northwest partner of mall owner Cafaro Co., based in Youngstown, Ohio. And its in-store Sephora “was No. 1 in the country after it opened last February,” said DeSalvo.

“This is a tribute to the fact that Puyallup has a narrow and deep market, with people who are prudent but willing to spend for value,” he said.

Puyallup’s population numbers about 60,000, but the trade area comprises more than 320,000. It is home to a major Boeing Aircraft manufacturing center and a newly expanded Good Samaritan Hospital. Microsoft and Intel provide tens of thousands of highly paid jobs in the area. And Puyallup is home to South Hill Mall.

The 1.1 million-sq.-ft. super-regional enclosed mall underwent a major expansion in 1994, and the current renovation—slated for Nov. 1 completion—is adding new floor and ceiling treatments, skylighting, new entrance features, contemporary signage, soft seating and an entirely new food court design.

The mall is anchored by Target, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, the all-new J.C. Penney Men’s and Home store, Sears and Regal Cinemas. Some 120 specialty stores cater to a Puget Sound demographic that earns an average household income of $70,000, with pockets where the number soars to $100,000 per year.

“Wages are sufficient in this area to allow mom to stay at home and raise the children,” said DeSalvo, “and so we have a community that is not afraid to spend money, but they want value.” Cafaro Co. has been strategic in its merchandising, layering the mall with a mix of higher-end and high-value retail.

Gene Juarez Salon is Puget Sound’s high-end salon, and it expanded its South Hill Mall location from 2,500 to 6,000 sq. ft. Target enlarged its store, as has Macy’s, and an upscale sporting-goods retailer will open a 50,000-sq.-ft. new store in the mall. (At presstime, the retailer’s name could not yet be announced.)

The renovation of South Hill Mall was launched last March, with an unusual “ceiling-breaking,” rather than ground-breaking, ceremony. The point? “The renovation comes at a time when many commercial developers are delaying or abandoning projects for lack of financing,” explained DeSalvo. South Hill Mall’s parent Cafaro Co., however, uses its own capital, free of any large debt load.

Cafaro also has other West Coast projects under way. “We have a 270,000-sq.-ft. community center in Olympia, Wash.; a 553,000-sq.-ft. community center in Vancouver, Wash.; and a 226,000-sq.-ft. community center in Tigert (Portland), Ore.,—all in various planning stages of complete renovations,” said DeSalvo.

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Meijer to expand Grocery Express program

BY CSA STAFF

WALKER Meijer is expanding its Grocery Express program that enables customers to order groceries online and then pick them up at select stores.

According to reports, the retailer will offer the program at certain Meijer stores in Chicago, St. Charles and Aurora, Ill., and Westerville, Ohio.

Through the Grocery Express program, customers can order items online and then select a time and date for pickup.

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Toys’R’Us expands Disney offering

BY CSA STAFF

WAYNE, N.J. Toys”R”Us and Disney Consumer Products announced that Toys”R”Us will carry an expanded assortment of exclusive Disney-themed Halloween costumes for boys, girls and babies.

In addition, the two companies have announced that they have made a joint contribution of $50,000 to kick off the 2009 costume program.

 

Beginning in September, an expanded line of 25 costumes based on popular Disney characters can be found at Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us stores and online at Toysrus.com ,including costumes resembling Disney Princess characters, Disney Pixar Toy Story’s “Buzz Lightyear” and “Woody”, Power Rangers, Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger, and Disney Fairies’ “Tinker Bell.” The companies announced that the number of costumes in this year’s program is double that of last year and each bears a recognizable hangtag featuring the CAAF logo and a united mission statement from both companies.

 

Items range in price from $19.99 to $39.99 and are available in a variety of sizes from infant to toddler.

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