Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Westfield Valley Fair Mall Expanding... again!

Cat's out of the bag. The Silicon Valley/San Jose Business journal reported that Westfield officials submitted plans to add a pair of anchor tenants to Valley Fair mall by the end of 2008. That would increase the square footage of the mall by a third, swelling the mall to a staggering two million square feet. Consider the mall already weighs in at approximately 1.4 million square feet now. So, where will they put two more anchor tenants? Parking at the mall is worse than an Israeli retaliation already. My only guess is more parking garages.

I contacted the mall to get more details on their planned expansion. Stacy Carroll, Marketing Director of the mall, responded to my inquiry with "As this time, we do not have specifics on the two new anchor stores."

It seems unlikely Westfield would plan an expansion without anchors already expressing interest in the mall. Maybe they are afraid they'll curse the deal. Nonetheless, now we move into the speculation phase. What two department stores would join one of California’s must successful malls? And with Stanford Shopping Center in nearby Palo Alto monopolizing the uber-chi big players of the retail luxury world, who could be interested in Valley Fair?

* Neiman Marcus? Is there enough wealth to go around to have two Neiman Marcus stores so close together?
* Saks Fifth Avenue? Well, since they are contracting rather than expanding, it doesn't seem likely.
* Bloomingdale's? Maybe, but do we really need ANOTHER Federated store at Valley Fair? They already have two Macy's and we all know Bloomingdale's is a Macy's with a bowtie.
* Dillard's? Could the Arkansas-based retailer make its way into the competitive Bay Area market? They've already tested the water with a store in Stockton. I, for one, would love to see Dillard's come to the Bay Area. We could use more choices.
* Mervyn's? They have new owners and are busy trying to turn things around. Seems unlikely they are expanding.
* Target? Could be. Seems like they are in every mall now. This could be a good choice for the high-end mall.
* Kohl's? Doubtful.

What's your guess?


Steven Swain said...

I vote for Neiman-Marcus and Target. There's a mall in L.A. that's trying those two together.

Georob said...

It would seem to me that Valley Fair would want to build on the synergy between it and Santana Row, and perhaps put some heat on Stanford. I'm going to guess that one of the two proposed "anchors" will not be a traditional department store, but I know of few big box-type stores aimed at an affluent demographic(though Santana does have Best Buy)

So, here we go......

JCPenney: With the uncertainty at Vallco, they'd be a logical choice if nothing happens in Cupertino.

Sears: They'll stay at Vallco no matter what and should eventually start moving into old Kmart stores anyway.

Target: They ARE moving into malls, but with Valley Fair getting denser and more pedestrian-oriented, I don't think any anchor with shopping carts would work well. Yes, Target's done it before; but I still think they'd rather be at venues where they can spread out more.

Wal-Mart: Just want to see if anyone's still paying attention! Same reasons as Target, though(plus a few others :))

Dillard's: They had their chance to hit the Bay Area when Federated closed all those Emporium stores. (weren't they considering Vallco?) If they DO expand in California, I think it would be in places like the Central Valley which is more in line with the markets they're in nationally. It'll be interesting to see if they look at any outlying Southern California locations affected by Federated's purchase of Robinsons-May. But I think they're scared of the Bay Area.

Gottschalks: Same as Dillards, even though it's a California chain. Incidentally, both of them have been rumored to be takeover candidates.

Neiman Marcus: Instead of a second store, Westfield may want to pry one of Stanford's premier tenants. Valley Fair has the better freeway access and if they're going REALLY upscale, "Needless Markup" would be perfect.

Saks: They couldn't make it at Stanford, but Valley Fair's location might be too good to resist.

Bloomingdales: Valley Fair and Stanford already share Macys and Nordstrom, so why not Bloomingdales? And Federated would then have THREE anchors against one Nordstrom.

My prediction: Bloomingdales and another anchor not on this list. Stanford's going to fight like hell to maintain it's upscale position.

Georob said...

I didn't mention Mervyns or Kohls. Neither one is appropriate, as I honestly think that Westfield's intent is to finally give Stanford some upscale competition.

Frankly, I see posible two mergers down the pike: Mervyns/Kohl's and Dillard's/Gottshalks. What do you think?

BIGMallrat said...

I think Macy's will eventually gobble up Gottschalks to eliminate competition and sell the real estate. Macy's is still working on the debt from the May assimilation, so I don't think they'll be looking at Dillard's, at least in the short run. Kohl's and Mervyn's is anyone's guess.
For Valley Fair, I think the shopping carts in the parking lot is a reasonable concern. However, Westfield has attracted Target at Oakridge and Downtown Plaza in Sacramento. Both malls are considered upscale. Hmm. You have some intersting ideas. It'll be interesting to see what comes to fruition,

Georob said...

Just read your post on Barney's New York. They'd make a great "non-traditional" anchor for Valley Fair. Or perhaps H&M? Especially if they decide to build even bigger stores. Talk about a retailer on steroids!

Again, I just have this feeling that Westfield's going to take aim at Stanford. And because of the University, I doubt Stanford can't upgrade any more unless they demolish half the thing and rebuild.

BIGMallrat said...

Stanford vs. Valley Fair... battle to the finish... or whomever gets Demolished first.