Winter 2008 On Location in Las Vegas
In Vegas, every shopping center, every redevelopment, every project in the works seems impossibly more impressive than the last. From new developments like Town Square, an open-air, Main Street-themed property with 150 shops and 12 restaurants, to Miracle Mile Shops with its $50 million makeover and a sleek, contemporary look, retailing in Vegas is brighter and bigger than ever before.
The Las Vegas area had 47 million square feet worth of retail space as of the second quarter of 2007, an increase of 7.5 percent over the previous year, according to the Las Vegas Business Press. And the future looks just as dazzling with coming attractions such as Summerlin Centre expected to open in October 2009, an open-air property with more than one million square feet of retail space catering to a master-planned community of over 95,000 residents.
But the prime Vegas advantage for retailers is tourists—millions of them. Las Vegas is now the fifth most-popular destination in the world. Visitor volume for 2008 is forecast to reach 42 million, an increase of almost five percent over 2007, according to the University of Nevada’s Center for Business and Economic Research.
Stuart Bailey, retail property manager for Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas in Primm, NV, says he’s noticed “a significant year-over-year increase in visitors from Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan and Germany.” He adds that Vegas also attracts “a wide reaching and diverse group of visitors not only from the local region, [and] draws significantly from Los Angeles, Arizona and the East Coast.” What do all those visitors do when they get here? They spend. In 2006, tourism spending topped $39 billion. More than half of Vegas’s annual visitors spend time shopping, with an average of $140.86 per trip, more than twice as much as on sightseeing and show tickets combined, reports the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.
Locals are a spending force, too. With nearly two million residents, Clark County (home of Las Vegas) is one of the fastest-growing counties in the US—approximately 5,000 people move to the city every month, according to the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.
Vegas is a draw like no other, with towering skyscraper resorts and more than 200 casinos. And as the casinos go, so goes Las Vegas. Where else will you hear, “If I win, I will be right back to buy this”—a common refrain on Fremont Street, according to Linda Rienzo, who manages a one-of-a-kind specialty leasing program at the Fremont Street Experience.
Here’s a snapshot of that property and others with specialty leasing programs in this bustling, blingfest of a city that never sleeps.
The tourist trade
If you visit Las Vegas, you “hit the Strip,” (or Las Vegas Boulevard South), where all the action is—the bright lights, the big bets, the over-the-top places to shop. “[Visitors] will walk the entire Strip,” says David Palomo, group vice-president of business development for General Growth Properties in the Las Vegas area. “They’ll visit every shopping destination. That’s why so many cart operators have a strong desire to be on the Strip. They know what’s at their front door.”
Shopping centers on the Strip are just as grand as the four-star hotels and world-renowned casinos they neighbor. Fashion Show, owned by General Growth Properties, is a three-level, enclosed, super-regional center that ranks among the top 10 centers in the country for both size and sales volume. It has seven department stores, including Bloomingdale’s Home, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom, as well as 250 specialty shops, for a whopping 1.9 million square feet. Visitors will find live models strutting their stuff every Friday, Saturday and Sunday on a fashion runway that emerges out of the ground.
Fashion Show’s 52 year-round carts are spread throughout all three levels, including 10 that surround the fashion runway. A new and unique use experiencing success is Travelocity, where customers can build their own travel itinerary online or speak with a representative. Other uses include wine accessories, and health and fitness products. Most cart retailers at this center are expected to exceed $500,000 in sales.
In the heart of downtown Vegas, roughly 10 miles away, lies another equally impressive specialty retail venue, the Fremont Street Experience. Although this four-block-long pedestrian mall isn’t technically located on the Strip, it’s surrounded by 10 high-traffic casinos and draws throngs of tourists (almost 19 million last year). Fremont Street Experience boasts the world’s biggest big-screen (longer than five football fields), which serves as a canopy 90 feet above a shopping scene populated by specialty retailers. Themed nightly big-screen shows, with larger-than-life images and concert-quality sound, are free.
There are 40-plus carts in Fremont’s specialty leasing program and additional units are added for roughly 50 special events per year. In 2007, three of the 40 specialty retail locations at Fremont Street grossed more than $1 million in sales. Interactive uses, such as Cashman’s Photo Magic kiosk, where visitors can have their photos taken with Chippendale dancers, are particularly popular.
Not only do photo products serve as great souvenirs for tourists, they’re also a form of entertainment, which has tremendous appeal to Fremont’s customers, says Specialty Retail Leasing & Parking Facilities Manager Linda Rienzo.
Back on the Strip, adjoining Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, is Miracle Mile Shops, owned by Boulevard Invest LLC, an enclosed, single-level center through which an average of 48,000 people pass per day. Shoppers will find 170 stores throughout the 475,000-square-foot property, including Sephora, bebe, H&M, and Urban Outfitters. There are also 15 restaurants and live entertainment. The center, as previously noted, recently underwent extensive remodeling, including the specialty retail program, to create a more modern, contemporary look.
There are 35 custom-made new carts spread throughout the center. Because the center is 90 percent tourist driven, new shopping dollars are constantly entering the property, says Specialty Leasing Manger Amanda Cole. Naturally, then, Miracle Mile retailers “thrive on capturing the impulse shopper,” she says.
Located on the second floor of the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino, owned by American Casino & Entertainment Properties, directly on the way to one of Vegas’s premier tourist attractions, the Stratosphere Tower—the tallest freestanding observation tower in the United States, standing 1,149 feet tall and hosting three thrill rides—are The Tower Shops, with over 65,000 square feet of retail in a one-level, enclosed center. Visitors will find themselves journeying from France to China and on to New York in the center’s themed interior housing more than 50 stores and 13 kiosks with popular tourist uses, such as airbrushed tattoos and caricatures.
The Grand Canal Shoppes, owned by General Growth Properties, is another one-level, enclosed center that adjoins a hotel and casino, in this case The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, which evokes the spirit and feel of Venice at every turn. Visitors to The Grand Canal Shoppes, totaling 464,000 square feet, stroll cobblestone walkways with arched bridges and winding canals lined with 80 international boutiques, including exclusive stores such as Jimmy Choo and Lior. There are three carts and two wall units in Grand Canal’s specialty leasing program, selling products such as fashion jewelry and Italian-themed merchandise.
Banking on the community draw
It’s not all tourist glitz and glam in Sin City; in fact, many centers cater to the locals, including The Boulevard Mall, a General Growth property. This single-level, enclosed, super-regional property has 1.2 million square feet with anchors including Dillard’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, and Sears, as well as 140 stores. Old Navy joined the ranks in the fourth quarter of 2007. There are 39 carts in the specialty leasing program, with additional kiosks added during the holidays.
Another community-driven property also owned by General Growth is Meadows Mall, a two-level, enclosed regional shopping center anchored by Dillard’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, and Sears. In this 956,000-square-foot center, visitors will find a 1,600-square-foot children’s play area, as well as 140 specialty shops. Meadows Mall is conveniently located on I-95 and across from the Springs Preserve, a newly opened 180-acre non-gaming cultural and historical attraction that is expected to increase the center’s traffic.
There are 37 carts in the specialty leasing program with a traditional mix of tenants, including Dead Sea products and jewelry. An additional five or six kiosks are added during the holiday season. The program has been expanded with the addition of eight carts over the last two years. Three outdoor carts were also added this past June, as a test in jump-starting customers’ shopping experience before they hit the front door.
Eight miles from the Strip, in Henderson, NV, a fast-growing city with an average household income of $80,000, lies the Galleria at Sunset, an enclosed, two-level, regional center owned by Forest Enterprises. “We don’t get the brunt of tourism. We’re a local driven mall, full of business professionals and young families,” says Joe Snipes, assistant general manager and specialty leasing manager. The Galleria at Sunset has one million square feet of retail, anchored by Mervyns, Dillard’s, JCPenney, Macy’s, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as 140 specialty shops.
There are 22 carts and eight kiosks in the specialty retail program, with an additional seven or eight kiosks added for the winter holidays. In 2008, four somewhat smaller units will be added to the program, offering retailers shorter license agreement terms than the standard six months.
Let’s make a deal: outlet shopping
For both tourists and locals looking for a bargain, Vegas has plenty to offer. There are two outlet centers owned by Chelsea Property Group in the heart of Vegas: Las Vegas Premium Outlets and Las Vegas Outlet Center, which bookend the Strip at the north and south ends and are only eight miles apart. Both are located within close proximity to many of their major brand’s full-price stores on the Strip. These centers capture domestic and international tourists, as well as the local population.
Located in downtown Las Vegas, Las Vegas Premium Outlets is a one-level, open-air center in a village-type setting. Anchored by Anne Klein, Coach, Polo Ralph Lauren and many others, this center recently expanded from 435,000 to 539,000 square feet and now houses 150 stores. During this expansion, eight carts were added to the specialty leasing program to make a total of 33.
Las Vegas Outlet Center is a one-level, enclosed center, located two miles southeast of the Strip and in close proximity to the airport, in an area developing at a rapid rate, notes Tony Muccigrosso, specialty leasing manager. There are 130 stores encompassing 477,000 square feet with anchors including Adidas, Calvin Klein, Coach, Timberland, and Tommy Hilfiger. In the specialty leasing program, there are 23 carts, 17 kiosks and six wall units.
Also an outlet center, yet a bit farther out (36 miles south of the city) lies Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas, an enclosed, one-level center purchased by Talisman Companies in 2000. Attached to Primm Valley Resort & Casino, and situated off I-15, over which a reported one million vehicles travel each month, shoppers will find more than 100 designer outlets in 370,000 square feet with a cityscape interior built to be reminiscent of New York’s Time Square and Florida’s South Beach. Anchored by Neiman Marcus, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach, and Nike, the center has a number of stores exclusive to the area, including Versace, and Hugo Boss.
The specialty leasing program includes 23 carts and six kiosks. This past August, larger and more functional carts were added to the program. Las Vegas-themed gifts are a popular use, as well as high-end handbags, fine jewelry, and cosmetics and beauty products.
Mixed-use makes its mark
On the Southern end of the Strip lies the newly opened (Nov. ’07), Town Square, owned by Turnberry Associates and Centra Properties, an open-air, super-regional lifestyle center in a downtown-setting, where customers can drive through the streets and park in front of their favorite stores. There are 22 separate buildings, a $3 million children’s play area, a park and 1.5 million square feet of retail and office space (the vast majority is retail). Anchored by Robb & Stucky Interiors (high-end furniture), Borders, Whole Foods Market, 24-Hour Fitness, and Rave Motion Pictures (a state-of-the-art 18-screen theater), there are also 150 shops and 12 restaurants, “so there’s a surprise around every corner,” says General Manager Mike Wethington. “People come to spend an entire day here.”
The specialty leasing program’s 19 carts are spread throughout the property. Town Square is a dog-friendly center, so what better place for a pet-accessories cart with live dog models dressed as such Vegas icons as Elvis? A cart leasing remote-controlled boats for children (and adults) to race across the park’s pond is also popular. Because this is an open-air center, the carts have been designed for both the heat and sometimes-chilly nights in mind. Large canopies offer shade from the sun (Vegas averages 294 days of sunshine annually) and each has a heating element to keep the cart staff and shoppers warm when the desert chill descends.
Another mixed-use development from General Growth Properties is scheduled to open in October 2009. Summerlin Centre, with more than 1 million square feet of open-air retail. Located approximately 12 miles from downtown Vegas, the property will serve Summerlin, a 22,500-acre master-planned community with nearly 95,000 residents. This 100-acre community hub will combine retail, dining, office space, a hotel and residences, all surrounding a series of grand public plazas to be known as Summerlin Square. Approximately 25 unique carts and kiosks are on the specialty leasing agenda.
A winning combination
Emerging out of the parched desert as an oasis of entertainment and shopping, Vegas draws visitors worldwide to its streetscapes, shopping malls and specialty retail programs. A bigger-than-life mix of excitement, adventure and bling, Vegas offers great odds for specialty retailers who want to be in the midst of huge crowds looking for ways to spend money.
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