A shopping center got a gift this holiday season.
Glenbrook Square on Wednesday announced it inked a deal to bring Carsons department store to Fort Wayne, filling a spot vacated by Marshall Fields in 2005. Remodeling of the 122,000-square-foot store will begin in February with officials anticipating a mid-September opening.
Bon-Ton Stores Inc. of York, Pa., owns Carson Pirie Scott & Co., known informally as Carsons, which has 14 Indiana locations, including a Warsaw store.
Purdue University retail expert Richard Feinberg said the retailers pending foray into Fort Wayne bodes well for shoppers.
The customer always wins when there is more competition, Feinberg said. They are a relatively well-managed company. They competed for many years against Marshall Fields and now Macys, and thats not an easy thing to do.
Feinberg is curious, though, about whether Bon-Ton was offered any incentives on leasing, considering todays competitive retail market.
You wonder if theyre not paying full rent for a period and things like that, he said.
Officials declined to release such details. Bon-Ton spokeswoman Mary Kerr said the company has a multiyear lease with General Growth Properties Inc. of Chicago, owner of Glenbrook.
We love Indiana, Kerr said. We first came into the (Indiana) market through our acquisitions of other stores in 2003 and 2006. Moving into Fort Wayne was a natural extension for us.
Bon-Ton also expects to open a 120,800-square-foot store at the Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine, next fall.
Marshall Fields debuted at Glenbrook in 1997 when Dayton Hudson Corp. remodeled its Hudsons store and found Fort Wayne customers identified more with the Marshall Fields name than Hudsons. The store was originally built in 1981.
For the past two years, GlowGolf amusement center has occupied a portion of the lower level of the location. It is uncertain whether the business will stay in the mall or relocate. A manager with GlowGolf said whatever happens, the business isnt likely to leave the area.
As for Carsons, Kerr said executives like the regional appeal of Glenbrook, which pulls customers from throughout northeast Indiana and neighboring Ohio counties.
It looked like a growth opportunity for the company, she said. With locations already in the area, we feel we have a relationship with the customer.
Glenbrook officials say Carsons will beef up the malls offerings.
The addition of Carsons illustrates our commitment to offer our customers the best retail in the area, Glenbrook spokesman Chris Ford said. Carsons offers a great merchandise mix, and were thrilled to offer our shoppers with yet another stellar retail option.
Carsons will join existing anchor stores Macys, J.C. Penney and Sears at the mall.
Jessica Swartout, 22, says she doesnt shop at Glenbrook often – but Carsons could change her habits.
I dont like the traffic, the Fort Wayne cashier said. About as close as I get to Glenbrook is Target, but if they (Glenbrook) have (brands) I like, I might shop there more.
At a glanceCarsons department store is preparing to open in Fort Wayne next fall. Heres some information on the retailers parent company Bon-Ton Stores Inc.:
Locations: 272 stores in 23 states
Store names: Bon-Ton, Bergners, Boston Store, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herbergers, Younkers and Parisian
Workers: 27,100 full- and part-time
2011 annual sales: $2.9 billion
Stock market: Shares closed at $11.13, down 15 cents on the Nasdaq at the end of trading Wednesday
Source: Bon-Ton Stores Inc.