polo symbol Local malls not fretting about outlets at Gretna
“We saw a decrease in business, especially on the branded side of it,” he said.
The new Nebraska Crossing opens Nov. 15, with more than 50 retailers, including major names such as Coach, Kate Spade, Polo Ralph Lauren and Under Armour, and a handful of restaurants.
Simon estimates the $112 million, 350,000 square foot center will pull away 5 to 10 percent of local retail business, mainly from department stores, specialty stores and sporting goods retailers that sell the brands being sold out the outlet mall.
That effect probably will last six to 12 months, and then things mostly willreturn to normal, he said.
“There’s not going to be a huge effect long term,” Simon said.
For their part, Lincoln’s two major malls don’t seem too worried about losing business to Nebraska Crossing.
“Of course, we see it as competition,” said Julie Lattimer, marketing director for SouthPointe Pavilions, who agreed with Simon that the competition could be more intense for stores that carry certain brands.
But Lattimer said she sees the outlet mall as more of a destination that Lincoln shoppers will visit once or twice a year, as opposed to local malls,
which many people visit weekly or monthly.
Simon said Gateway might see the bigger competitive effect, simply because it’s about 10 to 15 minutes closer to the outlet mall than SouthPointe.
Gateway pointed out in a statement that it has been going strong for 50 years.
“We welcome any additions to the area’s retail landscape and look forward to opening several exciting new options to our shopping center in 2014,” the statement said.
Starwood Retail Partners bought the mall last year, and it is nearly full now. Over the past couple of years, Gateway has landed several national tenants new to Lincoln, including Forever 21 and Shoe Dept. Encore.
Without actual market research, it’s difficult to quantify how much retail “leakage” there will be from Lincoln to the outlet mall, Simon said.
In 1995, the owners of the previous outlet mall commissioned a marketing study that showed about 20 percent of the shoppers at the mall came from Lincoln.
When developer Rod Yates first announced plans to redevelop the mall in 2010, he said more than half the traffic at the mall was coming from west of Gretna.
Simon said the long term success of the outlet mall is going to depend less on shoppers coming from Lincoln and Omaha and more on drawing people traveling through Nebraska.
“Long term, that’s where they’ve got to make their money,” he said.
To that end, Simon said he thinks the owners have done a good job.
The location is a good one, he said, not only between two large cities, but also hundreds of miles from other major outlet malls.
Also, the outlet mall business is strong right now. “There’s been a big increase in sales in outlet malls in the last five years or so,” Simon said.
According to the “2012 State of the Outlet Industry” report produced by Value Retail News, total outlet sales were expected to hit $25.4 billion in 2012, $3 billion more than in 2011.
The new outlet mall has a much better store lineup than the old one, Simon said. Of the more than 50 stores already announced there eventually will be close to 70 more than 40 are new to Nebraska.