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6 International Retailers Expanding in the U.S., CBL’s Rotating Food Court Pop-Ups, Weekday Mall Visits and More

June 9, 2023

Fashion retailers based in other countries are expanding their presences in the U.S. Mango, Zara, Uniqlo and Primark all plan new stores in the U.S. in the coming years.

Mango, a Spanish retailer of clothing, opened a flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue last year. The company plans to open 40 more stores in the U.S. by the end of 2024.

Fast-fashion retailer Zara, also from Spain, plans to open at least 30 stores in the U.S. by 2025. It also plans to refurbish some of its existing stores.

Uniqlo, a Japanese retailer known for affordable clothing, plans to open 20 stores a year in the U.S. The company expects to quadruple its North American store count by 2026.

Primark, an Irish retailer known for bargain-priced clothes, is targeting 60 U.S. locations by 2026. The company already has opened several, including locations in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia.

The expansion of these fashion retailers to and within the U.S. has resulted from the relative affordability of marketing on social media and from Americans’ increasing willingness to embrace foreign brands. It’s also a sign of the relative strength of the U.S. economy, as foreign brands see the U.S. as a stable market with untapped pools of wealth.

Retailers beyond apparel also are eyeing profits in the U.S. In April, Ikea, which was founded in Sweden and now is headquartered in the Netherlands, said it would invest more than $2 billion to open 17 new U.S. stores. And another Swedish home furnishings brand, luxury mattress maker Hästens, has partnered with a luxury distributor to open 20 branded stores in the U.S. within the next seven years.

4 More Retailers Making Headlines: Five Below, Lowe’s, Neiman Marcus, T&T Supermarkets

Five Below supercharged its expansion plans by acquiring nearly 20 leases from home goods retailer Tuesday Morning’s bankruptcy auction. As a result, the teen value chain will exceed its goal of opening 200 stores by year’s end. Five Below didn’t identify the locations, but it has been expanding aggressively into California, Texas and Florida. It has an expandable concept with moveable walls that can increase or decrease selling space based on need. Five Below also is considering former David’s Bridal locations.

Lowe’s is embracing the rural customer, stocking farm and ranch items at pilot stores in hopes of boosting sales productivity. The home improvement chain will add elements from these rural pilot stores to as many as 300 existing stores in the South, Midwest and Northeast by year’s end. Rural stores stock more livestock feed, fencing, all-terrain vehicles and trailers, as well as apparel brands that are more popular in rural areas than in urban ones.

MORE FROM C+CT: Telling the Community’s Story: Attracting Retailers to Rural Locations

Luxury sales aren’t skyrocketing at Neiman Marcus stores anymore. Comparing the third quarter of 2019 to the quarter that ended April 29, sales at Neiman Marcus locations that have been open since then have risen 11%. Sales at those stores were down 5% year over year, however, as last year’s sales benefited from pent-up pandemic demand. Executives said they’re relying on more promotions to move high-end merchandise. Neiman Marcus’ revenue declined 1% and earnings dropped 25% year over year.

Next summer, Canada’s largest Asian supermarket chain, T&T Supermarkets, will open its first U.S. store, a 76,000-square-foot anchor in The Marketplace at Factoria in Bellevue, Washington. Loblaw Cos. acquired T&T, which operates 30 stores, in 2009.

CBL’s Secret to Backfilling Empty Food Court Space? Rotating Pop-Ups

The leasing team at CBL’s West County Center near St. Louis has turned an empty food court stall into Pop-Up Eatery with rotating pop-up food-and-beverage providers. CBL provide turnkey space, and each operator needs only to acquire a business license and temporary health permit. The weekly rate is $500, with a 15% breakpoint over $5,000 in sales.

All Rolled Up had a successful run in the Pop-Up Eatery at CBL’s West County Center near St. Louis.

Tenants occupied Pop-Up Eatery for 16 consecutive weeks from December to March, and new operators continue to come in. Yogi Donuts, the first tenant in the program, learned during its run to operate at a higher volume, according to owner Bri Betrus. The shop will pop up again for three more weeks this summer. Another, unnamed F&B operator that had a three-week run then signed a one-year lease for another location within the food court.

More F&B Coverage

One Way to Create a Pipeline of Small Business Tenants: Host a Culinary Competition
Meet the Tenants Changing the Food-and-Beverage Landscape
6 F&B Tenant Updates: Chipotle, Feast & Fettle, Slice Factory, Wetzel’s Pretzels and More

Weekdays Claim a Greater Share of Mall Visits, Perhaps Thanks to Work-from-Home?

U.S. shoppers are visiting malls more during the weekdays than they do on weekends, according to a study of traffic patterns. To measure how the pandemic impacted mall-going behaviors, StreetLight Data looked at the distribution of vehicle trips that ended at 13 of the top U.S. malls between 2019 and 2022. It found notable changes in patterns across different times of day and parts of the week. In 2019, about 60% of visits at the malls occurred on weekdays. Weekdays’ share of total trips has risen since then alongside work-from-home, to 70% in 2022. This may suggest that 9-to-5ers now have more flexible weekday schedules, making them more likely to visit the mall during the workday.

Organized Retail Crime Is Getting More Violent

From October through mid-April, half of retail and grocery workers witnessed a theft or an attempted theft, according to a survey from Axonify. Over 20% of the 1,000 respondents don’t feel prepared to handle situations involving theft, while 40% are scared to go to work. More than 25% have ignored theft or attempted theft, and associates across the board reported a “notable increase” in hostile and violent situations.

More on ORC

ORC Is a Costly Diversion, Retailers Say
Efforts to Combat ORC Continue in Congress and State Legislatures
States Increase Penalties for Individuals Involved in ORC
Marketplaces Industry Ponders Organized Retail Crime Threat at First-Ever ORC Conference

Consolidation Coming Among Both Tenants and Landlords

REIT consolidation is just around the corner, according to Fitch Ratings. The firm downgraded its outlook for REIT returns in 2023 because it still anticipates a recession to occur this year that will further bisect the commercial property market into weak and strong players.

In the retail REIT sector, Fitch reported, leasing demand for open-air shopping centers likely will cool. Reasons include tenants delaying decisions. Such an ebb would lessen pricing power for open-air landlords. Meanwhile, enclosed mall owners will face tighter lending conditions, according to Fitch.

The retail tenant pool will experience a similar phenomenon, according to consulting firm Bain & Co. After deals dried up thanks to the pandemic, mergers and acquisitions for retailers likely will heat up this year, according to Bain, which reports that companies are using the record amounts of cash they accumulated during the pandemic to make acquisitions that improve their economies of scale.

By Brannon Boswell

Executive Editor, Commerce + Communities Today

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