A Bona Fide Retail Opportunity for Non-store Merchants, Or Just Another Entrepreneurial Misfire?
Every now and then, one of those wild cards comes along in this catalog/multichannel retail business we all cherish. Sometimes, it provides the more traditional players in the catalog business with a good kick in the pants; other times, it only provides opportunities for the bigger players who can afford the initial outlay.
More often than not, such off-the-beaten-path concepts as selling catalogs alongside magazines in bookstores or newsstands, selling space ads in catalogs, licensing catalog names on cars, and offering private alternative postal delivery, among others, have worked for so few mailers that they’ve failed to catch on industry-wide. Here’s a new one, whose long-term future could potentially provide a shot-in-the-arm for a number of catalogers. Or perhaps it could eventually be reduced to a going out of business sale. You be the judge.
Two years after an initial effort fell through, catalog services entrepreneur Tony Lee and commercial real estate mogul Sheldon Gordon (best known for building the Forum Shops at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas) have teamed up to lease a 181,000-sq.-ft. department store space at the Christiana Mall in Newark, Del.
Inside, “Epicenter Collection,” as they’re calling it, will house some 60 different boutiques, most of which will be occupied by catalogers or online merchants that don’t operate retail chains, as well as some brand marketers. The space was a former Lord & Taylor store. Federated Department Stores, which owns Lord & Taylor, Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, among others, has signed on as a partner with Epicenter.
For Multi (2) Channel Marketers
For dual-channel (catalog, Web) marketers lacking the funds to make the big bucks in retail, this concept could help them get their feet wet in retailing. (Heck, even Dell plans to aggressively expand into retail distribution, per Sir Michael’s announcement on May 30.) In fact, Lee and Gordon are hoping to open other Epicenter Collections across the country.