These Stores Could Be Expanding to a Mall Near You
As familiar retailers like Walgreens and American Eagle turn out the lights at underperforming stores, a new set of familiar and not-yet-familiar names are ready to take their place at U.S. shopping centers. They're retailers that have succeeded online, in Europe and with other concepts.
"If you understand your market, then you can have a very niche product, and it can be very profitable," said Andrew Nelson, chief economist at Colliers International commercial real estate firm. "It's a good way of expanding the brand without just expanding their store count to the point of unprofitability. Take a look.
1. F21 red
Forever 21 -- which built its reputation on offering chic styles for low prices -- in May launched a new concept, dubbed F21 red. These stores are focused on items that carry the company's entry-level prices, including camisoles for less than $2. A spokeswoman for Forever 21 said the company currently has five "red" stores in the U.S. and one in Germany, with plans to open 37 more by the end of the year.
Since launching its Six:02 women's concept in 2012, Foot Locker has grown its store count to 15. The retailer is tapping into the locations, which are considered an evolution from its Lady Foot Locker banner, to help reach its goal of $10 billion in sales by 2020. There are planned openings for 20 more stores under the nameplate this year.
3. Lululemon men's
Over the holidays, Lululemon doubled down on its growing men's business by opening its first menswear-only store, in Manhattan. Although the company does not have plans for another men's shop, the unit's comparable-store sales rose 16 percent in the fourth quarter. "We are seeing the potential for expanded store footprints, particularly as we have a growing men's business," CFO Stuart Haselden said on the company's earnings call in March.
Also under the Lululemon umbrella is ivivva, the athletic apparel firms's answer to the youth market. The company opened 10 ivivva stores last year, ending the fourth quarter with 22 stores and 37 showrooms (showrooms sell only key styles and aren't open the whole week). The company plans to open 20 more ivivva stores in 2015.
As sales continue to rise in athletic wear, fashion-forward brands are also hopping on board. One of those names is Theory, which launched its Theory+ activewear collection last year. The company opened its first location dedicated solely to the label earlier this month in Seoul. The second Theory+ open in April in Los Angeles.
6. Zara Home
Affordable fashion label Zara is ripe for expansion in the U.S. The retailer's parent company Inditex plans to open more than a dozen Zara stores in 2015, including Las Vegas, Boston and Chicago. Although these plans don't call for the company's Zara Home concept to break ground in the U.S., shoppers are keeping their fingers crossed. The retailer currently operates more than 400 stores around the globe under this nameplate, but it's only available online in the U.S. so far.
7. Lou & Grey
After first testing these standalone stores in the fall, Ann ended 2014 with five freestanding Lou & Grey stores around the U.S. The specialty apparel retailer plans to further build out its loungewear concept, formerly known as Loft Lounge, by testing roughly five locations in 2015. It will also launch a standalone e-commerce site, which is scheduled to debut in the summer. "The freestanding [stores] have provided a great environment for refining the Lou & Grey concept real time, and importantly, they have been successful in attracting clients who are new to Ann Inc," CEO Kay Krill said on the company's earnings call in March.
8. The Fisher Project
Eileen Fisher, which produces 20 percent of its garments in New York and Los Angeles, channeled L.A.'s coastal vibe for its new store concept, The Fisher Project. Now open for almost a year, the label targets a younger shopper than the private company's namesake brand.
Gap-owned Athleta is proof that spinoff concepts can, indeed, deliver. After acquiring the online athletic wear firm in 2008 -- and launching its first store three years later -- the brand feted its 100th store opening in December. Gap plans to open 20 Athleta stores in 2015.
10. & Other Stories
H&M has set a goal to open 400 stores in 2015. But it isn't limiting this growth to its main label. Among other brands in the company's stable are higher-priced labels & Other Stories and COS, which both broke ground in the U.S. last year. & Other Stories launched during spring 2013 and has 23 stores, mostly in the larger European cities, including London and Milan. By fall, it will have four more locations open in Europe.