General Growth Properties (GGP), owner of Perimeter Mall, announced today that Davenport, Iowa-based Von Maur will open in the space being vacated by Bloomingdale's. In case you missed it, Bloomingdale's will close four stores this coming March, among them, their three level, 8-year-old location at Perimeter Mall. The store is to open late this fall but I'm not so sure it makes sense.
Just this past fall, the retailer opened their first Atlanta location, in a former Lord & Taylor, former Belk, in North Point Mall in Alpharetta (also owned by GGP). If I were them, I'd want to wait and see how store one in the market peformed before opening store two. I highly doubt there is a long line of suitable and interested retailers waiting to open anchor size stores in Atlanta.
While Bloomingdale's at Perimeter suffered partially because of thefts and questionable merchandising, it was also too close to Lenox Square. Von Maur's North Point Mall store is about 13 miles away from their planned Perimeter store, and each serves a different market, but I still worry about having the two so close. By comparison, the two Bloomingdale's locations were about 7 miles apart, but Bloomingdales's, a national retailer, had plenty of marketing and money to support two stores.
It was mentioned that Lord & Taylor might re-enter the market, and honestly, that makes more sense than this. Having visited the Von Maur in North Point, I found a number of similarities between it and Seattle, Washington-based Nordstrom, a store that will be located just feet away in Perimeter Mall. Interestingly, Von Maur does have a "good, better, best" strategy in the merchandise they offer. Basically, brands that are of good quality and price, better, and most expensive / high quality. In the guys' section for instance, one could find DKNY and Columbia (good brands) with 7 Diamonds (better) and finally, Burberry (best).
As I stated on the DeathWatch this past fall, the way for Bloomingdale's to get out of its lease was if another retailer was waiting in the wings to open its place. Von Maur, it seems, is that retailer While I'm not a fan of the store sitting empty, I'm not totally sure it's the right move for Von Maur.
What do you think? Is Von Maur too similar to Nordstrom or will the two stores compliment each other? Is Von Maur getting ahead of itself opening a second location so soon after its first? Please share your thoughts below.