Chico’s store set to close, as Stamford mall sees arrivals
STAMFORD — Embattled women’s-clothing chain Chico’s plans to close its store Tuesday at Stamford Town Center mall, while the turnover at the downtown shopping center has also brought in several new stores.
Chico’s shuttering reflects a brick-and-mortar downsizing plan by parent company Chico’s FAS, as it aims to better adapt to growing e-commerce and changing fashion trends. During the next three years, the company plans to close at least 250 locations for Chico’s and the White House Black Market and Soma brands.
A message left for Chico’s FAS was not returned.
Stamford Town Center General Manager Dan Stolzenbach said that he “cannot speculate as to why they’re leaving.” Chico’s opened at the mall in 2012.
Chico’s, which focuses on “serving the lifestyle needs of fashion-savvy women 30 years and older,” operates several other stores in the state — in Fairfield, Milford and Southbury. A Chico’s on Main Street in downtown Westport closed in early 2017.
At the same time, the mall is still attracting new tenants.
A couple of doors down from Chico’s, menswear retailer Zane opened Tuesday. Next month, a Fun Palace entertainment center is set to open, taking a space formerly occupied by a Zara clothing store.
Openings last month included a Boost Mobile store, a mobile-device repair-and-accessory shop The Fix, and custom-apparel store Concept Design.
In May, a Crystal’s Fun Spot children’s play center and fashion incubator TILL: bioFashiontech Lab opened.
April saw the opening of a showroom for Hyundai’s Genesis luxury-car brand. The gallery accompanies a Genesis dealership about 1 mile from the mall, at 85 Magee Ave.
“Class-A mall landlords are jumping on this trend of adding non-retail uses, which is a move toward densifying malls,” Garrick Brown, vice president of Americas retail research for commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, said in a recent interview. “What you’re doing is you’re putting more people in your mall, and that’s a smart play whether your mall is struggling or not.”
Custom Candle Co., and Sasha, a hosiery-and-shapewear seller, also opened in April.
Those additions have helped to offset nearly a dozen closings at the mall in the first six months of the year. That list included J. Crew, Armani Exchange, Ann Taylor, Gymboree, Charlotte Russe, Payless ShoeSource, The Walking Co., Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma.
In addition to the retail exits, the mall’s restaurant row lost Kona Grill in April.
A number of vacant storefronts still dot the mall, across several levels. But all of its anchor spaces are filled — by Barnes & Noble, Macy’s and Saks Off 5th.
A summer-enrichment series, live musical performances on the restaurant row and a planned festival in late October are also helping to draw customers, according to mall officials.
“Regarding the mall’s performance, I think we’re doing quite well,” Stolzenbach said.
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