Nordstrom Rack coming to Coral Gables, Kendall in early 2010
By Zachary S. Fagenson
After the closing of such nationwide retailers as Circuit City and Linens 'n Things, Miami is gaining some retail momentum with the opening of Nordstrom Rack at two locations early next year.
The Seattle-based company on Tuesday announced plans to open one location in Kendall at The Palms at Town & County shopping center and a 33,000-square-foot store at 3301 Coral Way in the Miracle Marketplace in the City of Miami. The stores represent the bargain division of Nordstrom Inc.
"We think we have quite a bit of business to earn in the area," said Nordstrom spokesperson Julee Kraus. "We're just finding great opportunities in South Florida for [Nordstrom Rack] locations."
The 60 Nordstrom Racks across the country offer clothes and accessories for men, women and children discounted from 30% to 70%.
Although parent Nordstrom Inc. isn't releasing its first-quarter report until mid-May, the retailer reported a 13.5% drop in same-store sales for the five weeks from the beginning of March to April 4. Companywide, sales fell 10% to $674 million from $750 million during the same period in 2008.
According to Ms. Kraus, the company's strategy of capitalizing on demand shift is behind the two new locations.
"Our customers are being cautious with their spending," she said. "We're going to focus on things under our control and offer them fashion at great values."
As the retailer prepares for the openings, Talisman Cos., the developer behind the renovation of the 250,000-square-foot Miracle Marketplace, is becoming more cautious when it looks at potential tenants.
"The problem with retail is that oftentimes you'll get an overabundance of retailers doing the same thing," said Talisman CEO James Schlesinger. "Some retailers become better in [their] niche and the other ones get washed away."
While the threat of bankruptcy may be a real possibility for retailers, Mr. Schlesinger said no matter the economy's condition "you have a major mall and a lot of spots to fill."
Although developers won't let vacant space dwell for very long, Mr. Schlesinger said they're doing more back-office work to ensure they don't ink contracts with risky companies.
"I think you do a little bit more due diligence, but if you're in the business you know" which companies are strong and which ones aren't, Mr. Schlesinger added. "Everybody knew Circuit City and Linens 'n Things were going to fail."
Nordstrom Rack will be the last major retailer to take up space inside the recently revitalized shopping complex that used to be known as Paseos and before that Miracle Center.
The mall is also home to a Bed Bath and Beyond, Bally Health Club, PetSmart, Payless Shoe Store and others.