The market of Tulsa, OK, provides a fascinating snapshot of exactly how much national trend has materialized.All across the nation, landlords and property managers continue to seek out other options to fill the space that used to be filled by national brands that have either fallen by the wayside or reduced their footprints. Enter specialty retailers, which are serving the dual purpose of occupying space - and generating foot traffic. According to News OK, the market of Tulsa, OK provides a fascinating snapshot of exactly how much this trend has materialized.
Tulsa has more than its fair share of retail giants such as Macy’s, Saks, and Nordstrom’s, but landlords and managers of some of the city’s largest centers are increasingly turning to specialty retailers to fill space.
“Specialty retailers add another dimension to our already popular retail mix, creating unique options for our loyal shopper base. In addition to our fantastic department stores, specialty retailers, such as new additions Great Wraps Grill, Champs Sports and The Fix, are able to provide a highly personalized level of service for specific products,” says Scott Budge, manager at Woodland Hills Mall, which is a member of the Simon Property Group portfolio.
In addition to the retailers that Budge mentioned, the mall has also welcomed a new luxury steakhouse from a Dallas-based restaurant chain known as Texas De Brazil. The restaurant features a fixed-price, all-you-can-eat menu that offers 16 different meats. Budge also mentions that while the mall is cognizant of the trends and is looking to stay ahead of the curve with new offerings, department stores in their neck of the woods are thriving.
“Although we cannot predict the future, what we can tell you is that our department stores continue to see full parking lots and steady foot traffic,” Budge said.
Budge’s comments provide interesting food for thought. Retail by design can be somewhat of a copycat industry, and that can extend down to property owners and developers. While specialty retail and dining options continue to increase their footprints, that doesn’t mean that department stores simply need to close up shop and move out of way.
Instead, the answer may lie somewhere in the middle. For the anchors and department stores that are in a position to reduce their space, that excess space can be filled with specialty retailers, dining concepts, or even something else entirely in the experience niche. That excess space could even be taken over by a retailer with smaller space requirements.
For example, Irish clothing retailer Primark continues to expand its US footprint, and recently opened its fourth US store at the Freehold Raceway Mall in New Jersey. Primark took over the second floor of a formerly two-level Sears store that was occupying way too much space. That move presented a solution for the mall owner that would have faced the eyesore of substantial vacant space, as well as a retailer that was looking to break into a new location, but simply has no need for two floors.