July 14, 2007 in Business

Stores targeting young shoppers to open at mall

By The Spokesman-Review

Fast fact

Big spenders

“Spokane Valley Mall is undergoing changes as retailers catering to teens and young adults grow or remodel. That’s because shoppers age 16 to 24 spend the most money per square foot of retail space, according to the mall’s marketing manager.

Two national chains catering to youthful shoppers are opening stores at Spokane Valley Mall.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc., a store where kids and adults put together customized stuffed animals, is opening on the main floor next to PacSun on Aug. 10. Hollister Co., an apparel store geared toward youths ages 14 to 17, will open on the main floor across from Victoria’s Secret later in August, according to Lesa Berry, marketing manager for the mall.

The New Albany, Ohio-based Hollister Co. – owned by Abercrombie & Fitch Co. – operates nearly 400 stores according to its parent company’s most recent quarterly report.

The mall locations are the first in the area for both retailers. Build-A-Bear will hire about 15 people while Hollister is expected to hire 100 to 150 people for mostly part-time jobs.

Build-A-Bear is part of a St. Louis, Mo.-based chain with about 275 stores in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada as well as franchises in other countries, according to Hoover’s, a company that researches corporations.

Customers select a type of animal and choose electronic sound chips and “wish hearts” that are tucked inside the creatures, which are then stuffed and sewn shut. Stuffed animals also get birth certificates and have bar codes sewn inside so if they get lost and returned to the store, employees can track down their owners, the company Web site says.

Customers can choose from a number of outfits and accessories, such as eye glasses and cell phones. The store also hosts parties.

Spokane Valley Mall is undergoing a number of other changes as existing retailers catering to young adults either expand or remodel space. When it comes to spending, shoppers age 16 to 24 are a top consumer category for the mall, Berry said, because they spend the most money per square foot of shop.

Buckle, a trendy apparel shop, will remodel in late summer.

American Eagle Outfitters is expanding by 2,700 square feet into space formerly occupied by Rave, a teen store that closed in April. The main floor space will be 7,500 square feet and open July 24, Berry said. The store is temporarily located on the upper floor.

Claire’s is moving across the walkway into the former Crescent Jewelers location, adding more than 600 square feet of space, and is expected to reopen there in late July.

Silver Safari will also upsize into about 1,400 square feet in a new store next to Sears on the upper level in the end of July.

“It’s like playing musical stores around here. It’s fun,” Berry said.

Outside the mall, Winger’s Grill & Bar will open Aug. 6 in a space formerly occupied by Tony Roma’s, Berry said.

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