Retail Traffic

Heard on the Floor

Talk at the ICSC meeting in Washington, D.C., in late March focused on the blending of different retail models — a mix of big boxes, discounters and traditional mall tenants. “People are shopping across the board,” said Richard Kabat, president of Potomac, Md.-based Kabco. “No one is embarrassed to shop at a discount store, then shop at a luxury retailer.” Kabat recalled how different it was when he was young. His mother bought bargains at Loehmann's but hid her purchases in Saks' bags.… “This is a time of great experimentation,” said Paul Weinschenck, vice president of Fairfax, Va.-based Peterson Cos. “The regional mall is not the avenue of growth any longer.”… Target Corp. has given up on its Target Greatland model (sized half way between its regular and Superstore prototypes). Michael Logan, Target's senior manager of government affairs, said the Greatland name would be phased out in coming years.… Roy Rogers continues to carve out a nice little comeback story. Left for dead after Hardees purchased the brand and then failed in its efforts to convert its 648 stores to its own banner, one of Roys' dedicated franchisees (bolstered by a loyal customer base) bought the rights to the chain. For two-and-a-half years, he has been meticulously rebuilding his portfolio. Roy Rogers Franchise Co. has bought Roy back up to 56 locations in nine states, said Jim Plamondon, co-president. His firm wants to have 100 units by 2010. At a recent opening of a Montgomery County, Md., Roys, a line 50-deep waited outside for the opening, he said.… Also on the comeback trail, Prime Retail — now owned by Lightstone Group — is rapidly polishing its tarnished image. Lightstone is investing in improving the design of Prime Outlets. It is renovating and expanding Prime Outlets at San Marcos with a Venetian theme conceived by architecture firm Carter + Burgess.… One concept to watch: Robek's — a California-based smoothie chain. The firm has 70 stores, with plans to add 50 this year. It's looking to “double, triple or quadruple” that in coming years, an executive said.… In response to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s ever-raging battle to remain a non-union shop, United Food and Commercial works has put together a $25 million war chest for lawsuits against the retailer, revealed Mia Matsen, community affairs manager for the retail giant. Meanwhile, in response to the spate of legislation in communities across the country barring stores greater than 100,000 square feet, Wal-Mart has developed its“Urban 99” concept, in which stores take up just 99,000 square feet. It will also use that prototype in efforts to build in downtown locations.

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