Web brand showcase to debut at Roosevelt Field
Showrooming, once considered the bane of physical retail, is now being embraced as a party to its salvation.
Next month, Long Island’s fabled Roosevelt Field mall will open a new section populated by — until now — Internet-only brands demonstrating their wares. Called The [email protected] Field, the space will provide clicks-to-bricks pioneers with modular fixturing systems, digital media walls, and even staff, if needed.
Owner Simon Properties says such a turnkey solution is what pure-play e-coms have been waiting for. The first brands to take the company up on the proposition include Raden Smart Luggage, Skinnydip London, menswear provider Vitaly, and Rhone, an athletic apparel e-tailer.
“Raden strongly believes in the power of the mall. There is a lot of foot traffic in malls with different customers to reach,” said Raden CEO Josh Udashkin. “We are a brand that wants to reach new customers where they are already predisposed to shopping.”
Simon partnered with Appear Here, a company that’s furthered the e-com pop-up concept globally, to hook brands up with showcase spaces ranging in size from 20 sq. ft. to 200 sq. ft. Also part of the project is AllWork, a tech platform that allows digital brands to remotely manage retail associates and sales strategies.
“This concept is a design-centric, experience driven, and completely transitional place to discover new product and technology in a brick-and-mortar space,” said Zachary Beloff, national director of business development for Simon.
Simon did not disclose how large a space it was devoting to The Edit.
Hecht: New Century City is watershed moment for Westfield
Westfield COO Bill Hecht looks at the billion-dollar re-do of the company’s Century City Mall in Los Angeles and sees the dawning of a new era in retail.
“We believed that, with Century City, we had the opportunity to evolve it into the next generation of retailing,” said Hecht on the occasion of the re-opening of the renovated mall. “We had a fantastic customer base and location. We have tourists, a local office population, and the Beverly Hills and Bel Air crowd that have always felt that Century City was their place to shop. We were able to approach this set with a blank canvas.”
The renovation added more than 400,000 sq. ft. of retail space to Century City, bringing the destination’s total to 1.3 million sq. ft. shared among what will be a total of about 230 shops upon final completion. The tenant mix reflects a change that Westfield says it will be bringing to all its malls, a formula that blends fitness, grocery, healthcare, and dining to luxury retail to make for a sort-of high-end necessity-based center.
The new Century City boasts the West Coast’s first Eataly, a new Nordstrom and Macy’s, a renovated Bloomingdale’s, an Equinox fitness club, a Gelson’s upscale supermarket and a 15-screen AMC Theatres, Coming soon: a health-and-wellness center from UCLA focused on preventive care.
Redone common areas and interiors will be graced by art works on loan from the Annenberg Center for Photography and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Permanent works will also be in residence from sculptors such rounded-form master Jun Kuneko and as Stan Bitters with his ceramic work “California DNA.”
“We were really sensitive to what our customers wanted, which could be summed up in two words: California Soul,” Hecht said. “You can walk into a center and feel the warm and fuzzies or you can not feel good at all. Now you go into Century City and you feel good.”
Westfield is investing plenty in spreading those California good vibrations. Another billion-dollar re-make is underway at Westfield Valley Fair in Santa Clara and a $600 million renovation will be unveiled later this year at Westfield UTC in San Diego.
CBL malls to close on Thanksgiving
When holiday shopping madness kicks off on Thanksgiving Day, at least 121 malls will be sitting on the sidelines.
CBL Properties has announced that it will repeat the decision it make last year to let employees at malls across 27 states remain home to enjoy the annual feast with family and friends.
“The support that we received last year when we made this decision was overwhelmingly positive,” said CBL president and CEO Stephen Lebovitz. Feedback from retailers, CBL employees, and shoppers led CBL executives to the same decision this year.
CBL is giving the option to department stores, movie theaters, restaurants and other tenants with exterior entrances to open on Thursday, Nov. 23. The remaining areas of the malls will be open for business bright and early on Black Friday, with tenants cleared to open at 6 a.m.