Big change-up of stores at Tanger Outlets
Several new stores are going into the Tanger Outlet mall in Kimball Junction. Some are open now, others will be before snow falls but are still under construction.
Gone are West Point-Pepperell, Mikasa, The Paper Factory Outlet, Jockey’s and The Outdoor Store. Stride Rite will be out this month.
Open now is Lucky Brand Jeans, J. Crew will be by the end of the month, and Tommy Bahama and Columbia Sportswear are still under construction. A few more spaces are open and will be filled soon.
Nancy Gray, general manager of Tanger Outlet Center, said this kind of change is "very normal" and that she is excited about the new tenants.
"Tanger’s goal is to provide stores the customers want," she said.
The center has a waiting list of stores that want in, she said. The mall has little trouble filling leases. How quickly a new store opens is decided by that store.
An ongoing trend in outlet malls that is true at Tanger in Kimball Junction is an increased demand for high-end brands. Because everything at Tanger is outlet, the prices are lower, but that is a current demand from the industry, Gray said.
When stores leave, Tanger considers a number of factors in deciding what new stores to add, explained Beth Lippincott, vice president of leasing with Tanger.
The factors largely have to do with sales figures for particular stores, brands, or types of merchandise.
"Every shopping center in America uses that strategy to keep the most popular brands and keep product categories performing well in that center," Lippincott said.
In this way, shoppers have a heavy influence on what stores come, go and stay. As a resort destination, tourists to Park City influence the type of stores as do the locals and shoppers from Salt Lake City. Gray, the general manager, said Tanger enjoys a varied mix of shoppers.
Locals express some concern that they don’t have enough influence on what stores are featured at Tanger.
Lisa Jane Deyo, a member of the Park City Moms group, participated in a campaign to complain to Tanger management about the closing of Stride Rite shoe store.
Deyo said the store is unique and still does fittings for children’s feet. She and others in her group are fans of the store and feel angry it is leaving, she said.
Sadie Green, store manager of Stride Rite, said through tears that it’s very frustrating to her that at her level she hears many rumors float about trends at the mall.
This trend made the announced closing of her store difficult, since she had heard that Tanger wished for another company to take their lease, but was only told her store was closing on Sept. 2.
Other store managers confirmed that rumors float that leave employees fearful that their store may be next. For one employee at Stride Rite who also worked at Jockey’s and West Point, this was her third lay-off in nine months, Green said.
For example, Green said she was matter-of-factly told to prepare for closing because the rent had been increased and after negotiations, the corporation chose not to pay it.
But Jay Nannicelli, senior vice president of retail at Stride Rite said that the store’s sales numbers had never been where they wanted them to be. He said his company had never even negotiated the rent because it wished to direct its resources elsewhere.
"We made a business decision not to renew. Nothing to do with the rent structure at all," he said. "What’s going on at the mall had no bearings on our decisions."
Lippincott at Tanger said her corporation strives to get the rents the markets will allow, and that they vary between each of the 32 centers in 22 states, as well as from year to year.
Gray said she could not yet announce who will be taking the space, but said she expects shoppers to be excited.
Other store managers agreed the direction the mall is heading is good for business, even if customers are sad to see some favorites go.
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Park City officials are preparing to take what is considered to be an important step in protecting the Treasure land from wildfires. City Hall in early June requested proposals from firms interested in the work.