Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Daily Mall Reader: Garden State Plaza, A Potemkin Mall

A daily dose of mall-related reading...

"Welcome to the Potemkin Mall"

The New York Times - December 20, 2005

(Excerpt) PARAMUS, N.J. - At the Garden State Plaza, a sprawling marble and skylight-filled shopping center just outside Manhattan, discriminating consumers can find a $400 fur-trimmed handbag at Coach, a $60 pair of distressed jeans at American Eagle Outfitters and a $25 make-your-own giraffe at Build-a-Bear.

And, if they look closely enough, they can also find dozens of retail analysts, hedge fund managers and institutional investors, their telltale briefcases and BlackBerries in hand, as they rummage through clothing racks to calculate markdowns, count shoppers to gauge a chain's popularity and quiz managers about sales.

Read the full article here.

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Blogger Cora Buhlert said...

And people wonder why shops and malls have become so sterile and samey.

They should throw out all those Wall Street analysts. I mean, not buying a clothing company's stocks, because one doesn't like the colours? That's just silly.

Sun Jul 15, 05:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't surprise me that Wall Street Analysts use GSP as a forcaster for retail markets. Here is why:

- GSP is the largest mall in NJ and just got larger with its recent expansion wing consisting of an AMC 16, Grand Lux Cafe, Boders (a re-designed Borders, but I still think the original was better) and a few other stores.

- In addition to Ruehl, Teavana, Hollister, Grand Lux Cafe, Nordstrom, and a couple other stores have used GSP as their first retail foray into NJ.

- Many of the stores in GSP have their largest NJ locations here.

- Despite the mall being closed on Sundays due to Bergen CO blue laws, the majority of stores in the mall STILL have their highest grossing locations at GSP (Nordstrom at GSP is not only the largest in the NE Region, but also the biggest money-maker for the chain in the NE Region).

- On any open day during the week, it can be difficult to find parking in certain areas of the mall.

I am honestly quite surprised that they did not open an IMAX in the new movie theatre and I do predict that when Dave and Busters decides to open in NJ, they will use GSP eventhough there is already a D&B's in Palisades....and there is still room for the mall to grow.

Sun Jul 15, 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Thanks for the good insight, Anonymous. Yet, like Cora, I still find this concept a little hard to swallow, and agree it probably only adds to the problem of the generic sameness of malls and stores today.

Mon Jul 16, 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger Didi said...

That man from Wall Street must be off his rocker.

Where do I start?

"... in which a store's strength is measured through dozens of tiny, seemingly imperceptible signs, ranging from the size of a 50-percent-off sale poster (revealing how desperate a store is to clear out merchandise)..."

It's not an act of desperation to clear out merchandise it is a very good tactic to get people to actually buy something. See, because I am a smart shopper and a smart shopper usually knows never, never, ever pay full price for anything especially at the stores listed in this particular mall. Why? Because we know that the price will eventually go down to something we think is much more worth the price. So actually the big ass 50% sale sign doesn't steer me away, it gets me to actually me to come into the door. No signb makes me ignore it as another over priced store. Worked for me at Express at Old Orchard another Westfield owned place. I came out with ten dollar summer shirts and two dollar jewelry and they had a nice big 60% sign right in the door.

"Too many "buy one, get one free" signs at the Gap could indicate trouble selling fall fashions, souring investors on the company."

That is basically saying that the investors want the public to pay really outrageous prices over something not so outrrageous. Hmm, keep taking those sale signs down, fellas, and let's see how your investment turns out in a few years when you have no customers.

"Then there is all the green - five different shades, by his count - which he says is likely to confuse shoppers who are looking for a simple message about what colors they should wear."

I am not looking for a simple message of someone (who seems to me to be quite idiotic) telling me what I should buy. I am the one taking money out of my pocket. I get to dictate what I should wear. Not some psuedo-fashionista. Five shades of green is not going to confuse me it might make me buy more since I happen to love green. Also for me the lack of color choice sometimes in some places really makes things boring and makes me walk out the door much faster. I did that at Ann Taylor Loft the other day when every color scheme seemed the same and not so exciting.

"At Pacific Sunwear, which is fighting Abercrombie & Fitch, AĆ©ropostale and American Eagle Outfitters for the loyalty of teenagers, Mr. Morris notices only one employee in the store and a pile of baseball caps on the ground. "That," he said, "is not a competitive advantage.""

The only concept this man seems to grasp correctly.

Mon Jul 16, 06:43:00 PM  
Anonymous tg said...

Ohhh yeah. My town is definitely not normal. Paramus doesn't have a main street. We have two highways of stores and four malls. GSP, being the largest of the four, would be no surprise to draw in the largest shopping crowd. Bergen Mall is currently going through a re-development. I don't think their goal to become similar to GSP is going to work but who knows.

GSP is definitely a little different from other malls. I've been to the Westfield mall in Australia. I've been to both an outdoor mall and indoor Westfield mall in California. They are closer to what Paramus Park or Willowbrook Mall is. Even the three story Palisades mall in West Nyack, NY, doesn't seem to carry such a huge crowd that GSP seems to gather each week.

Even Manhattan Mall looks pretty generic compared to GSP. I am definitely not surpised Wall Street analysts would take such high interest in GSP. I am hoping though that when Xanadu Meadowlands open (even though it's like 10-15 min. away), it would help decrease some traffic at GSP. Yeah, GSP could have an Imax but that Imax is going to Xanadu. Also, I definitely miss the old Borders layout. The new Borders layout really looks like a generic Borders store! Ahhhhh...

Thu Jul 19, 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i didn't check the ratings, but i doubt these are highly rated retail analysts. the NYT article made fools of them.

i agree the new Borders is worse than the old, and a worse location. the BN at Riverside Square is the best reason to visit that mall. I'm sure the HP7 party at BN trashed whatever Borders did. I was there, even though I had pre-ordered the book and it was arriving at my house Saturday morning!

I grew up with Roosevelt Field and Sunrise Mall on Long Island. Analysts should check them out for the suburban vibe, not GPS.

Sun Jul 29, 11:30:00 AM  

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