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To replace Macy's, PREIT may redesign Moorestown Mall with discounters

Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust closes in on two replacement tenants for the old Macy's space at Moorestown Mall in Moorestown, N.J.

The former Macy’s at  Moorestown Mall during last December’s holiday shopping season just before it closed in March 2017.
The former Macy’s at Moorestown Mall during last December’s holiday shopping season just before it closed in March 2017.Read moreELIZABETH ROBERTSON

Moorestown Mall, which lost its anchor department store Macy's earlier this year, plans to replace it with two value retailers in 2018, according to mall owner Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT).

PREIT plans to release an official statement on the changes Wednesday, on the eve of its third quarter earnings call on Thursday.

The incoming retailers – one described as an off-price home furnishings store  — will occupy 25,000 square feet of the former Macy's space, and the second, an  off-price outdoor gear retailer, will take up another 18,000 square feet.

Both are new to the Philadelphia market, according to PREIT.

The company signed the leases on Tuesday but as part of the contractual agreement, can't release the retailers' names yet though if one were to look at PREIT's playbook of late, a few brands are prime contenders.

For the home furnishings store, HomeGoods owned by TJX Cos., comes to mind, while the second replacement tenant could either be a Dick's Sporting Goods or a Field & Stream. PREIT has selected such stores in recent months to fill former anchor spaces to broaden their properties' customer appeal and drive traffic.

PREIT said the two new stores for Moorestown Mall will open in 2018 and are "part of the company's strategic, anchor repositioning program."

"The Macy's redevelopment offers an opportunity to bring highly-sought, first-to-market retailers to a vibrant market, enabling us to further distinguish the property," said PREIT CEO Joseph F. Coradino. "Our efforts at Moorestown Mall are exemplary of the extensive remerchandising we have executed throughout our portfolio to attract dynamic and differentiated concepts."

PREIT – like many landlords of shopping centers – is focused on plucking replacements from the so-called off-price, or value, retail segment. These retailers offer significant mark-downs on designer items – a concept that has taken off. Off-price retailers are adding stores while other chains have had to downsize.

"As the off-price retail segment continues to gain market share, the addition of these concepts will meet the demands of local shoppers and continue to differentiate the property within the marketplace,"  Coradino said.

In the past two months, PREIT has announced replacements for former department stores at some of its other properties:

At Viewmont Mall in Scranton, Pa., a DICK'S Sporting Goods, Field & Stream and HomeGoods opened to replace Sears.

A Burlington store – sans the word "Coat" in the name – took over Sears' space at Magnolia Mall in Florence, S.C. A Five Below and HomeGoods will join this spring.

At Capital City Mall in Camp Hill, Pa., a DICK's Sporting Goods opened last month with Fine Wine and Good Spirits to open later this month, to replace a Sears.

And in September, at Valley View Mall in Roanoke, Va., department store Herberger's took over space of a former Macy's.

Parent company Macy's Corp. announced in January that it was closing 68 more stores nationwide to focus on growing online sales.

The Macy's at Moorestown Mall was one of four in the Philadelphia region that closed by March 31. The others were at Neshaminy Mall,  Plymouth Meeting Mall and Voorhees Town Center.

Among the reasons cited by PREIT for the Macy's closing at Moorestown was that the mall sat just three miles from its trophy property Cherry Hill Mall, which also had a Macy's.