Store closes at Cincinnati Premium Outlets, can mall remain viable?

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email
MONROE, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Premium Outlets have had their fair share of mall traffic over the holidays, but many of the stores still remain vacant, and at least one store, The Loft Outlet, has already closed.
"We have seen vacancy rates rise in area malls, a chronically high vacancy rate or an inability to fill the spaces, could potentially be problematic," said Jennifer Pitzer, research associate at University of Cincinnati.
Pitzer attributes the increased vacancies to fluctuating consumer spending which ultimately drives retail as a whole.
"We have been seeing more of that occur with the recession in a lot of different commercial properties and strip malls," Pitzer said.
But, Pitzer says one store closing isn't necessarily indicative of the future viability of the mall, in fact she says it brings opportunity to grow.
"With one store closing particularly a smaller store, I would say that's not necessarily bad news, it gives the mall the opportunity to bring in a different retailer and it may not impact the viability of the other stores," Pitzer said.
In a statement to Fox 19, representatives from Cincinnati Premium said: "The Loft Outlet that recently closed was a temporary store.  We are working with this merchant on joining the center on a permanent basis but it is too soon to formally announce anything definitive.  The center has exceeded our expectations to date and we look forward to adding new stores and welcoming new shoppers in 2010."
So, what does the mall need to do to maintain viability one the newness wear off?
"Attracting tenet stores that are carrying the items and the brands that people want to buy," Pitzer said.
Mall representatives also said Guess, Joe's Jeans and Lane Bryant Outlet are all new stores slated to open in 2010.
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