There is optimism among retailers and interest in opening new stores amid signs of economic recovery, according to an account of last week’s International Council of Shopping Centers' national conference by Women’s Wear Daily.
The report noted positive indicators such as an abundance of available space for pop-up shops as considerations for retailers who might have scaled back during the past two years. This year’s conference included several retailers who were absent the last two years and an upbeat mood surrounding talks of retail’s re-emergence, according to WWD. Several of these retailers are eyeing new openings, while others continue to expand.
Converse (North Andover, Mass.) recently opened its first store in Boston and a 7000-square-foot flagship in SoHo. Its parent company Nike (Beaverton, Ore.) has launched four of its New Generation concept stores and plans to open more.
“We plan for five or six stores in 2011, on the street and in malls,” Dave Powers, vice president of global retail, Converse, told WWD. “We could have a pretty sizable number. We plan to invest in retail and go forward with the U.S. rollout.”
Glen Senk, chief executive officer of Urban Outfitters Inc. (Philadelphia), said the company is currently looking for real estate for expansion of each of its concepts, including Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Leifsdottir and Terrain.
Big M Inc. (Totowa, N.J.), which operates 117-unit Mandee and Annie Sez, plans to expand its mall-based accessories chain Afaze, according to chairman and ceo Ken Mandelbaum.
While retailers expect more store openings during 2011, they will include post-recession caveats such as smaller sizes, downsized versions and the continued shuttering of underperforming units. But decisions such as Lord & Taylor’s opening of its Yonkers, N.Y. location, its first new full-price store in 30 years, bodes well for the industry, according to WWD.