The clothing and accessories retailer Old Navy is occupying only three-quarters of the space at its new store in Oconee County’s Epps Bridge Centre as was the case in its now-closed store in Athens Promenade shopping center on Atlanta Highway.
And Children's Place will occupy a store at Epps Bridge Centre that is less than half the size of its current store in Georgia Square Mall.
The Gap, a sister-store of Old Navy, moved to just slightly more space at its new store in Epps Bridge Centre than it was occupying at Georgia Square Mall in Athens-Clarke County.
|New Site Of Children's Place 11/2/2013|
Alumni Hall actually increased its space by about 50 percent when it closed its store at Georgia Square Mall earlier this year and opened its Epps Bridge Centre location.
Pier One Imports is occupying the same amount of space at its new location in Epps Bridge Centre as it occupied in its old store on Atlanta Highway.
These are the five retailers on Atlanta Highway who opened–or, in the case of Children’s Place, are preparing to open--new stores in Epps Bridge Centre.
Different Reasons For Relocation
Store relocate for a variety of reasons, including for expected better exposure, for better lease arrangements, and to increase or decrease their space to meet current needs.
Online retail sales have made some stores opt to decrease the size or number of stores.
Best Buy, which at one point was expected to move its store from Atlanta Highway to Epps Bridge Centre, for example, was projected back in February to close more than 200 stores this year in response to what is termed "showrooming.
“Showrooming” is when customers visit stores to see the products but purchase them online.
Gap Inc. Increased Space
While Gap Inc. did decrease the size of the store for its Old Navy brand in its move to the Oconee County strip mall, it added another brand, Banana Republic, which had not been in the market.
The Banana Republic store in Epps Bridge Center is 7,000 square feet in size, increasing the total square footage of Gap Inc. outlets in the area by about 10 percent.
The future of the Children’s Place in the Georgia Square Mall is uncertain, and it could continue to operate in both locations. It remains open at present in the Georgia Square Mall.
Workmen were readying the future store in Epps Bridge Centre yesterday, and shelves and counters are already in place. The store is behind the Gap Inc. stores across from Marshalls.
Sources For Store Sizes
I relied on Oconee County Utility and Planning Department records for the estimates of sizes of the current stores. I found sizes of the old stores on LoopNet, an online listing of commercial real estate.
I could not find the size of the Old Navy store in LoopNet, but I found it is a story in the Athens Banner-Herald that was written just before the store opened in 1999.
Those records I found list the store sizes as (Epps Bridge Centre; Atlanta Highway):
Banana Republic (7,000 square feet; 0 square feet)
Gap (8,000 square feet; 7,752 square feet)
Old Navy (15,000 square feet; 19,611 square feet)
Total Gap Inc. (30,000 square feet; 27,363 square feet)
Alumni Hall (3,600 square feet; 2,269 square feet)
Children’s Place (3,600 square feet; 7,623 square feet)
Pier 1 (9,000 square feet; 9,000 square feet)
The Gap store at Epps Bridge is not a primary-level store like the one it replaces at the mall, it's a second-level "Factory" store, with cheaper, less stylish (and poorer quality) merchandise. The Banana Republic store is also a "Factory" store. In fact, many of the stores at the new Epps Bridge shopping center are second-string or off-price stores, like Marshall's and Five Below.
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