New stores to fill Target space

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Clothing, health and beauty and home decor outlets in plans

When Target shut its doors last April it left a gaping 117,000-square-foot hole in the heart of the St. Albert Centre.

Part of that void could be filled as early as December 2016, as the mall embarks on a total re-development of the failed retailer’s space.

The redesign will feature a new common area, three or four larger box units, measuring 20,000 to 30,000 square feet each, and a number of regular-sized retail spaces. The intent is to attract 12 to 15 new retailers to the centre.

“It’s significant,” said general manager Jillian Creech. “It’s increasing our merchandise mix by 30 per cent for the entire mall.”

It was reported earlier this year that despite the loss of Target sales numbers continue to show an increase of 37 per cent over the past four years.

“But of course, the more options, the stronger it will make the entire centre, so everybody is looking forward to having more retailers,” said Creech.

Last year mall management undertook a consumer survey to gauge what store types St. Albertans wanted to see added to the mall directory. Leasing efforts, currently underway, are being focused on the top-requested retail categories indentified through this survey: women’s wear (22 per cent), unisex apparel (18 per cent), health and beauty (15 per cent), home dĂ©cor (11 per cent) and children’s apparel (seven per cent).

“We’re very cognizant of wanting to make sure to bring stores here that customers are asking for,” said Creech.

Consumers were very specific as to which health and beauty and home decor retailers they would like to see introduced to the mall. The majority of requests were for Bath & Bodyworks and Home Sense.

When asked if the St. Albert Centre was pursuing those specific retailers, Creech said that management was reaching out to a “long list of retailers” and that she could not confirm any future tenants at this time.

St. Albertans also demonstrated a desire for increased food choices, especially healthy ones. Management is looking at ways to expand the current food court.

A new lease plan will be made available on the St. Albert Centre website and Facebook page at a future date. Re-development of the former Target location is scheduled to end next fall, but some areas could be opened as early as the end of this year.

The Gazette was able to confirm two of the centre’s new tenants as London Drugs and Mark’s Work Warehouse.

The Canadian casual and industrial apparel and footwear retailer will relocate from St. Albert Trail to a larger space within the mall. The plan is to open the store July 29, 2016, according to Mark’s corporate office.

London Drugs will also be moving from its current space on Bellerose Drive.

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Michelle Ferguson