It was here just last week...
September 17, 2007 5:48 PM   Subscribe

One of our local malls, South Coast Plaza in Orange County, *constantly* moves stores around and the stores *constantly* remodel. Why, and is it mandatory? I mean, I'm sure someone(s) smarter than me has decided that it's worth all the money they spend to move/remodel stores. Is that all there is to my question? Why don't other malls seem to do this? Is South Coast Plaza different because it's more of an upscale/luxury mall? Is it unique to certain malls? Does the mall force the stores to move? Or is this something the stores ask to do?
posted by edjusted to Shopping (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
people love new.
posted by kanemano at 6:08 PM on September 17, 2007

How old is the mall? They may be retrofitting or repairing structural problems. As a store vacates a spot, the planners may shuffle things around so that any stores that have outstanding issues can stay open while their old space is renovated or repaired.

Also, some stores have pretty specific types of equipment and fixtures that have to be installed, upgraded, repaired, or otherwise attended to. Rather than simply shutting down, the store may open a temporary second location within the mall while the primary store has the equipment dealt with. Once everything's taken care of the temporary store closes and the original store opens back up.

Sometimes the two things happen at the same time.

My guess is that the fancier mall you mention is newer and better designed than the other mall. Once the South Coast Plaza is getting a little longer in the tooth you'll likely see the same thing begin to happen there as well.
posted by lekvar at 6:18 PM on September 17, 2007

The property owner may be charging lease rates slightly higher than the stores can afford, so that at the end of their period they are renegotiating for different space at a different rate in order to try to make a better profit.

In much of Southern California, The Irvine Company controls most if not all of the commercial real estate, and they raise rates high enough that lessees are just on the edge of not being able to afford it at all times. That means that everyone is constantly trying to renegotiate their lease just to make ends meet.
posted by The World Famous at 6:45 PM on September 17, 2007

They are constantly remodeling because of a combination of these variables: the highest highest rent of any mall in California, intense high end/luxury brand competition, and huge volume - both traffic and revenue. Its the highest $$ volume of any mall in the U.S. (over a billion dollars per year total volume of all stores) . Over 24 million people visit annually.

Its a "high end" mall, yes. But its actually about as high end as they get: many stores have their 'flagship' stores (or their ONLY retail presence) there as well. Tiffany's store in SCP, for example, has the highest revenue of any of their US stores.

Also, the mall itself is remodeling, so many stores want to relocate to get out of the way of the construction.

also, the Irvine Company does not control SCP. its run by the Segerstrom family and is privately held.

source: mostly wikipedia and personal experience
posted by uaudio at 6:47 PM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

yeah, there is a lot of business going on down there, just look at the size of (and cars in) their parking lot. lots of money. of course all the stores try to outdo each other. if the lessor merely mandated they moved all the time, they'd be gone. these shops are no mom-n-pop operations who'd have no other choice.
posted by krautland at 7:10 PM on September 17, 2007

Honestly, while it is a nice clean mall & all? South Coast Plaza is one of the most pretentious and obnoxious shopping malls I've ever spent time in, in any country. In my experience, the stores there are often higher priced and snootier than the shops on Rodeo Drive by far. I never could understand the place, their marketing plan, or how they stay in business really. I avoid it, I'd much rather shop... uhhh... just about anywhere than be in Orange County mall spending my entire paycheck on a full-price ugly Coach bag I really don't need but nobody else has yet. As usual, YMMV.

So to answer your question, they probably just feel that constantly updating the stores and redesigning them will make everything feel more special with every visit and that then people will be even more sensitive to the urgency that they need to BUY MORE/BETTER NEW STUFF BEFORE THE THINGS THEY JUST BOUGHT GET OLD.

God forbid.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:31 PM on September 17, 2007

uaudio: Yeah, they're going through that huge remodeling now, but long before that ever started, stores kept moving all over the place all the time. Maybe I'm trying to read too much into this. And wow...I'd think the Tiffany store in NYC would be the biggest grossing one. That's pretty amazing.

krautland: While those stores have plenty of other choices, SCP is so famous/popular now that it might be in their best interest to stay, even if the mall says they have to move around.

miss lynnster: I have no doubt that the desire to make people buy more stuff is behind the moves. Like you, I'm at a loss to understand how some of the stores stay in business, especially when spending all that money to move and remodel. It just boggles the mind.
posted by edjusted at 8:14 PM on September 17, 2007

Hm. When I was back home, I noticed them remodeling, but for a long time through my childhood they did not, and the place was getting a little dingy compared to other OC malls. Thus I expect it is a long time coming and therefore pretty thorough.
posted by dame at 6:42 AM on September 18, 2007

There are lots of reasons why stores in a mall might move or remodel, and it sounds like quite a few of those are probably coming to bear at SCP.
1) I think SCP just added their newer wing across the street recently (within the last ten years?), so some stores may be jockeying to try to get a spot in there, or are moving to fill in more desirable spots vacated by other tenants that moved. If SCP is remodeling, that would only exaggerate that effect.
2) Tenant stores update their prototype design and layout all the time, and high-end stores would be more concerned about keeping their stores up to date, especially in a showcase mall like SCP. If they're going to go ahead and remodel anyway, why not also look for a better spot within the mall at the same time?
3) As newer high-end boutiques come into existence, they're probably vying for space within SCP with other existing stores that may not be of the same caliber (I went there a couple years ago, and they had some standard mall stores, so it's not like the whole mall is high-end). I would think it would be in SCP's interest to try to get those stores in the mall to keep their "brand" image intact of having all the best stuff, so they might be "forcing" lesser stores to move by messing with the lease terms.
4) Stores may be improving one space for their future location while keeping their old location open until the remodel (AKA Tenant Improvement or T.I.) is done.

Also, notice in the high-end stores how much empty space there is compared to stores in other malls. There's a lot. Considering that pretty much all of retail budgeting is based on square footage (rent, how much merch/square foot, revenue/square foot), the stores we're talking about in SCP aren't really hurting for cash, and obviously prize their presentation more than maxing out the space, so in that world, constant remodeling makes a little more sense.
posted by LionIndex at 8:13 AM on September 18, 2007

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