Hagerstown outlet site getting 24 more stores Sales 'exceeding our expectations'

November 12, 1998|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

Three months after opening and with sales continuing to be better than expected, Prime Outlets at Hagerstown said yesterday that it will open a new section with 24 stores Nov. 20.

With the 100,000-square-foot addition that will include names such as Adidas, Black & Decker, Bombay, Pfaltzgraff, Corning Revere and Eddie Bauer, Maryland's newest factory outlet center will be among the largest in the Baltimore-Washington region, with more than 80 stores. One million shoppers have visited the village-style outlets at Interstate 70 and Route 65 in Washington County since they opened in August, said Brian Lewbart, spokesman for Baltimore-based Prime Retail Inc., the center's developer.

"Sales at the center are exceeding our expectations," Lewbart said. "The merchants are generally exceeding their goals."

Because of strong interest from retailers, the developer began building the second phase of what will eventually be a 418,000-square-foot outdoor shopping mall before the first section opened with 95 percent occupancy.

"Tenant sales there have been fantastic," said David Fick, senior financial analyst with Legg Mason Wood Walker Inc. in Baltimore, who follows Prime Retail, a real estate investment trust that has become the world's largest owner and manager of outlet centers.

On an annualized basis, Fick said, tenant sales should average $300 per square foot, exceeding both the national average of $220 per square foot for outlet centers and Prime Retail's average of $255 per square foot for company-managed centers.

"This marketplace is drawing from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., which is very brand-conscious and has higher average family incomes," Fick said.

With the second section fully leased, Prime Retail has started leasing the project's 100,000-square-foot third phase, which is not yet under construction, Lewbart said.

The Bombay Co. Inc., which sells antique reproduction accent pieces, decided to open its 10th outlet center in Hagerstown based on the strength of the initial tenants and after seeing sales results, said Linda Stephenson, director of merchandising for Bombay's outlet division.

"We have been pleased with the business Prime outlets attract and how they manage their business," she said.

Tenants such as Big Dogs, Bugle Boy, the Children's Place, Haggar Clothing Co. Paper Factory, S & K Menswear, Stiffel Lamp Co. Store and Ultra Diamond and Gold Outlet will join existing tenants such as Gap, Polo Ralph Lauren, Jones New York, Tommy Hilfiger, J. Crew and Nike.

Many of the stores at the Hagerstown location have risen to the top 10 percent among a given merchant's outlets, said Mark A. Millman, president of Millman Search Group Inc., a retail consultant and placement company in Lutherville that represents about half the center's tenants.

"It's normal for a new center to draw a lot of traffic for a grand opening and several weeks beyond, but the real measure of a center is to be able to sustain productivity and customer counts," he said. "The early indication is this is going to be a very successful center."

Pub Date: 11/12/98

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