‘Forever 21’ is opened at Coronado Center which covers the 20,000 square foot area. Out of key makeup items, yesterday all were grudgingly stopped by Coronado to shop at Sephora and was pleasantly surprised to find the new Forever 21 open for business. The store shines like a tyranny out on the town.
‘Forever 21’ is really furnished naturally that is mega-trendy faux Lucite and chandelier-bedecked, quasi French boudoir style, which compliments the voluminous stock of cheap, whimsy-laden merchandise. This store, unlike its Cottonwood Mall counterpart, has a men’s section, a lingerie section, shitloads of accessories and who knows what else. The people want to spend hours in there to give a full assessment. But unfortunately, the store was closing when they arrived and it was all they could do just to contain their excitement long enough to locate and purchase some big-ass sunglasses and ruffle pajama shorts.
In late December, the Los Angeles-based young women’s retailer signed the 10-year deal. According to Coronado’s Senior General Manager Randy Sanchez, the Los Angeles-based young women’s retailer will open this summer on the upper level on the Sears side of the center. After building permits are obtained as well as a contractor is selected Construction will start in mid-February. In the Land of Enchantment, this will be the chain’s second store after a 5,000-square-foot Forever 21 opened at Cottonwood Mall on the Westside. At Menaul and Louisiana boulevards, Coronado is located in Uptown.
After the fast-growing retailer, the Coronado deal considered converting Mervyn’s at Cottonwood for its New Mexico flagship. The shuttered Mervyn’s at Coronado was converted into a large-format store, but decided to take a smaller space instead. ‘Forever 21’ has converted Mervyn’s stores recently in Arizona to 80,000-square-foot stores.
Coronado is creating space by stirring or eradicating eight other retailers To accommodate Forever 21 which located in the center’s eastern wing between Fuddruckers Restaurant and Kay Jewelers. The stores which are to be moved MasterCuts and Frederick’s of Hollywood. Forever 21 will have two entrances, with the store wrapping around an existing Kay Jewelers. Le Nails, a locally owned nail salon, and Cache, a national women’s apparel tenant, had lease expirations, which freed up space also.
While taking advantage of lessening rents ‘Forever 21’ has been recession-resistant. At present it has more than 450 stores in the U.S. and Canada or one can say that it is going to the best global locations. In New York’s Times Square, it is supplanting a closed Virgin Megastore with its own 90,000-square-foot flagship in 2009.
Shopping center developers pursue the chain because it is among the few that is in expansion mode during the recession.
“This will be our largest in-line store inside the center, and we are delighted to have them. They are a major traffic generator,” said Sanchez. “We have Forever 21 in other General Growth centers, so we know this company very well.”
Comparing with the past five years, Coronado’s demographic has grown increasingly younger, so it made sense for the teen-oriented retailer to anchor there. It is also the state’s largest shopping center with annual sales around $300 million.
Signing Forever 21 improves Coronado’s fashion image with a store four times the size of Forever 21’s Cottonwood store. The Forever 21 signing is seen as a coup for Coronado by retail brokers working the Duke City.
“This is big news for Coronado, and makes sense, as Coronado is the leading mall in New Mexico. With Winrock out of play and with Cottonwood its own trade area, it’s necessary for national soft goods retailers to choose between Coronado and ABQ Uptown,”said Anthony Johnson, a veteran broker at Sedberry & Associates.
The Forever 21 signing is the Duke City’s first big lease with a national fashion retailer in many months, and comes after another trying Christmas holiday shopping season.
Sanchez predicts 2010 will be a rebound year as the economy has bottomed and consumer confidence is growing. With Forever 21’s signing, Coronado is well over 90 percent leased for its in-line or small shop spaces.
The company started serving the Korean community in Los Angeles in the late 1980s with stores well under 10,000 square feet, and has long provided high fashion at low prices. It is known for taking fashion trends seen on the New York runways and quickly converting them into $40 versions for its stores. Lawsuits by top designers, such as Diane Von Furstenberg, alleging knockoffs have dogged the company, which competes with The Gap, H&M, Urban Outfitters and Charlotte Russe.