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New Bella Terra Mall in Huntington Beach - Mall Owners Won't Lament Federated-May Deal

Address: 7777 Edinger Avenue, Huntington Beach, Ca 92647 Bella Terra Huntington Beach Phone: 714-897-2533  / Web site :

News Story
Sales Rise as Department Stores Depart
Posted date: 3/7/2005
Los Angeles Business Journal Staff

Opening: The Glendale Galleria is home to Macy's and Robinsons-May.
Los Angeles developer Jerry Snyder has ripped the roof off of a struggling shopping mall in Huntington Beach and is building a 4,000-seat movie theater and more than 700,000 square feet of new retail space.

But no department stores.

'We totally redesigned it,' Snyder said. 'The people we are doing deals with now are Costco and Target.'

Snyder's project reflects the increasing view of shopping mall developers and operators ' and it hangs ominously over Federated Department Stores Inc.'s proposed $11 billion acquisition of rival May Department Stores Co.

As department store sales and market share plunged in the last few decades, mall owners have shifted their dependence away from mass merchandisers and towards national chains, popular restaurants and big box discounters.

The strategy appears to be paying off. Nationally, sales per square foot at malls in 2004 averaged $366, up more than 4 percent from the prior year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Meanwhile, department stores had sales of $140 per foot in 2004, slightly below the prior year, according to the Urban Land Institute.

Wall Street has taken notice of the shift. While department store shares have as a group done poorly, mall owners ' such as Santa Monica-based Macerich Co. ' have been some of the stock market's best performers.

'The specialty shops are doing a better job at a narrow focus than the department stores,' said Randy Brant, a Macerich senior vice president.

Open-air concepts

As mall owners become less dependent on department stores, developers are including fewer of them in their new projects. These days, the focus is on building so-called lifestyle centers ' largely open-air complexes where entertainment and dining attractions rope in shoppers instead of anchor stores.

If a department store even gets included in one of these new centers, it's typically placed off to the side and is smaller than it had been in the past.

At the Grove, an L.A. lifestyle center where Nordstrom Inc. is the sole department store, sales per square foot are more than double the national average, according to Rick Caruso, the center's owner and developer.