Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Outlet Shoppes of the Mid-South coming to Southaven

by JEFF IRELAND - Memphis Daily News 


Planned Southaven outlet mall speaks to popular trend 


Shoppers look for bargains. That’s been the case for ages, but it’s especially true during these trying economic times.

The market reacts to what consumers want, and developers’ answer to this need of late has been the outlet mall.

Memphis-based Poag & McEwen Lifestyle Centers recently announced plans to open a brand name and designer outlet mall in Southaven at Church Road and Interstate 55 in the fall of 2013. Construction is expected to begin next summer.

Scott Barton, vice president of retail services at CB Richard Ellis Memphis, who follows retail trends, said outlet malls are booming in today’s struggling economy.

“I was on a conference call last Friday and the topic was the outlet mall industry and the current trend,” Barton said. “The bottom line is there is no more popular segment in retail right now than outlets.”

At one point there were about 350 outlet malls in the country, Barton said, a number that has “decreased with the recession.”

“A lot of the closures were probably due to poor location,” he said. “We now sit at about 180 nationwide. Projections are for that number to double in four or five years.”

Southaven, now the third largest city in Mississippi, is looking to capitalize on the trend.

Mayor Greg Davis and his staff researched outlet malls before the plan was approved and realized that the concept is a popular trend.

Davis looked at similar facilities in Foley, Ala., and Destin, Fla.

“First of all, in today’s market I think that retailers are finding out that a large amount of their profits are coming from outlet centers versus regular stores,” Davis said. “Expenditures are up in outlet centers. To have one of this high quality and caliber will obviously add to the revenues of the city of Southaven as well as offer opportunities to residents and those around us to buy products that we might not otherwise have.”

There are not a lot of local choices for area residents looking for outlet malls. The Casino Factory Shoppes, located in Robinsonville, near the Tunica County casinos, draws a lot of tourists.

And the Lakeland Outlet Mall at Canada Road and Interstate 40 has struggled and seen multiple stores close.

Davis said the Southaven outlet mall will give shoppers something unique. He doesn’t know exactly what stores will locate in the mall, but he mentioned upscale retail outlet Kenneth Cole as an example of the type of store he expects to be included in the development.

“This one compares to the ones in Alabama and Florida,” Davis said. “Those have become destination spots.”

Davis pointed out that approximately 100,000 people come through Southaven to visit the Snowden Grove Park baseball facility, many of whom will be compelled to do some shopping while in town.
The new outlet mall will include several restaurants, another key draw as Davis estimated that 60 percent of Southaven restaurant patrons are not residents of DeSoto County.

“This is just another amenity. What we have to offer is becoming a destination spot,” Davis said. “I think there will be a lot of stores that aren’t offered in the area. Not just lower prices but also some brand names that might not be available in the shopping area. Anybody who’s been to the one in Destin knows.”

Despite the rising popularity of outlet malls, Barton has not heard of any immediate plans of a development in Shelby County.

“It does make some sense though,” Barton said.

There are 55 planned openings of outlet malls in the country, Barton said. According to CBRE’s estimates, about half of those will actually come to fruition.

“There’s no doubt the value concept is what’s driving consumers right now,” Barton said. “Outlet mall developers are working feverishly to put together properties that will entice customers to stay there as long as possible. … The average visit (to an outlet mall) is three hours right now, which was unheard of a few years ago. They have really become destinations. They’ve worked hard on their food concepts. Their layouts go along with their overall goal of simply extending the length of the visit, which affects the dollars spent.”


No comments:

Post a Comment