Mall Adds Sporting Goods Anchor

May 7, 2004
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MUSKEGON — Signing a fast-growing sporting goods chain gives The Lakes Mall a new anchor store that will serve as a lure for a key customer demographic — sports and outdoors enthusiasts.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc. has begun construction on a new store located on the eastern side of The Lakes Mall. The opening is targeted for the end of the year.

The store will give The Lakes Mall a destination store that appeals primarily to a new consumer niche that the nearly 3-year-old mall has yet to tap in large numbers.

“The void that this category will fill at this mall is very interesting and that’s what makes this so appealing for us,” said Pat Strum, the mall’s marketing director.

“It just brings one more demographic and fulfills one more need of the consumer,” she said. “It just further rounds out the offerings available at The Lakes Mall.”

The chain is the latest addition to the 645,000-square-foot Lakes Mall, which opened in August 2001. The new mall spurred a wave of growth and development along an emerging retail corridor in the triangle east of Muskegon formed by the junction of U.S. 31 and I-96, with the Sternberg Road connector as the triangle’s base. 

Reflecting that retail buildup, all but one of the outlying parcels on the mall property has been sold and developed since 2001.

And Kohl’s, a national discount department store, opened two weeks ago in the Lakes Crossing shopping center under development directly across the street from The Lakes Mall.

The Lakes Mall has 70 stores, restaurants, two anchors in Sears and JC Penney, and a “mini-anchor” in Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Dick’s Sporting Goods is also considered a mini-anchor, with separate internal and external entrances. At 45,000 square feet, it is larger than other retail outlets but smaller than the major anchors, Strum said.

The mall’s owner, Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CBL & Associates, had prepared space for development of another large store or a theater on the east side of the property, Strum said.

The mall still has room for future development of another major anchor store the size of Sears or JC Penney, she added.

Founded in 1948 as a small bait and tackle shop, Dick’s Sporting Goods has 163 stores in 27 states across the eastern half of the United States, eight of them in Michigan. As recently as 1997 the company, based in the Pittsburgh, Pa., had 61 stores, and in 2003 added 23 stores.

The publicly held company recorded 2003 revenue of $1.47 billion, a 15.6 percent increase over the prior year. Same-store sales grew 2.1 percent.

Dick’s Sporting Goods offers five specialty shops — or “stores within a store” — dedicated to golf, footwear, cycling, outdoorsmen and athletic equipment.

The company typically locates stores in emerging and growing retail corridors and retail centers occupied by major, national discount retailers, according to securities filings.

Executives recently told Wall Street investors that the company will open 25 more stores in 2004 and has plans to expand total square footage by 15 percent annually over the next several years.           

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