By George Anderson
Just as mall-based retailers such as J.C. Penney and Sears are increasingly looking to build standalone stores, others that have traditionally done business in freestanding locations are opening new units that often serve as mall anchor stores.
The latest such case has Wal-Mart agreeing to open a 150,000-square-foot store in the Richmond (Cal.) Hilltop mall. Unlike the standard single-story Wal-Mart box, this new unit will be spread over three stories.
“It’s a different format, but it has really been well received by our customers and they’ve been very helpful and successful in revitalizing these areas,” said Wal-Mart spokesperson Kevin Loscotoff.
Revitalization is something the area and mall were in need of, reports the Contra Costa Times. The Gap, the Limited and Eddie Bauer have all closed stores at Richmond Hilltop in recent years.
Steve Duran, Richmond’s community and economic development director is hopeful this is the start of good things for the community. “Once you have the Wal-Mart traffic in the mall, presumably the other stores at the mall will do better and we hope it will stimulate other retailers in the mall area,” he said.
Moderator’s Comment: Why are Wal-Mart, Target and other retailers that usually operate freestanding units opening stores in malls? Aside from operating
on multistories, are there other differences such as merchandise selection in Wal-Mart’s mall stores than in standalone units? Are the mall locations as profitable as Wal-Mart’s
freestanding stores? –
George Anderson – Moderator