When shoppers at Marley Station stop at the customer service desk, they ask for a J. C. Penney more than any other store.
In late 1993, that's what they'll get.
J. C. Penney Co. plans to open a 133,000-square-foot store at theGlen Burnie mall, which will expand for the first time since opening4 1/2 years ago, store officials announced.
The national department store will become the mall's third anchor, joining Hecht's and Macy's.
"Penney was always talked about as an additional anchor," said Ed Ladd, Marley Station general manager. "Customers have consistently named J. C. Penney as the No. 1 store they'd like to see."
The department store had been negotiating with the mall's owner, Taubman Co. Inc., for some time, said Gayle Barge, programs manager for J. C.Penney.
Well-established retailers and a community with a "strongfamily base and a mix of professional families and community-oriented folks" appealed to the Dallas-based retailer, Barge said. Plus, J. C.Penney's other Baltimore-area stores have proven successful. The company operates 13 stores in Maryland.
Ladd said it's coincidental that the Marley announcement comes two weeks after Annapolis Mall announced a major expansion, with a Nordstrom department store and 50 new shops expected by September 1993.
St. Louis-based May Centers Inc., owner of the Annapolis Mall, will add 250,000 square feet of floor space and renovate the entire mall for more than $50 million, beginning this spring. The company plans to expand its market to the upperend with higher-priced, higher-quality goods.
Because the two malls draw from different markets, with Marley Station in a middle-market area and Annapolis mall in a more upscale area, "I don't think (Marley's expansion) will affect Annapolis Mall appreciably in any way," said Paula McDermott, manager of Annapolis Mall. "What we're doing and what Marley Station is going after are two different segments of the market. I don't think one competes with the other."
A J. C. Penney store opened at Annapolis Mall in 1983, the last time that mall expanded.
During the past 10 years, the retailer has phased out its auto shops and sales of merchandise such as appliances and sporting goods to concentrate on men's and women's apparel.
The newer stores, including the one planned for Marley Station, include separate areas for cosmetics, athletic apparel and men's designer sportswear. A home department in the new store will include furnishings, bedroom and bathroom accessories, curtains and draperies, housewares and table linens. The store also will sell luggage, athletic shoes and sports apparel and offer a catalog department.
Since late last year, a handful of stores in Marley Station haveclosed, but a wave of new merchants has replaced them. The mall is more than 93 percent leased, Ladd said.
As a group, the merchants have seen an increase in sales each month since the mall opened, he said.
The newest stores include Sports U.S.A., a sporting apparel store, and Eddie Bauer, men's and women's fashions. About four new stores are under construction. Also, several stores, including Merry-Go-Round, Victoria's Secret and Lerner New York, will double in size.
Ladd said the mall has no plans forexpansion beyond the J. C. Penney.
But, he said, with "any good regional center that has physical potential to grow, you always look toward the possibility of doing that when the time is right."