Sbarro may be out at Peachtree Mall in Columbus, but the concept of pizza isn’t. And fans of the upscale fragrance and cosmetics chain Sephora will soon have access to its skin-care products through an outlet being set up inside JCPenney.
“Sephora is a great retailer, an internationally known retailer. So it’s a great addition,” Peachtree Mall general manager Chris McCoy said Friday of Sephora, which will have its grand opening on May 2.
Construction crews have been busy installing the Sephora concept inside the center of the JCPenney store following a $200,000 building permit taken out with the city in late January.
Founded in the French capital of Paris in 1970, Sephora began opening locations in JCPenney stores in 2006, according to its website. They are about 1,500 square feet, smaller than the chain’s normal stores, but still having “the signature Sephora look and beauty offering,” the site says.
The brand should be a welcome addition to a wing of Peachtree Mall that has been hit by a string of vacancies in recent years, with most of those occurring because of retailers shuttering stores nationally.
Such was the case about three weeks ago when the Italian-style eatery known as Sbarro closed abruptly at Peachtree Mall’s food court, one of 155 outlets nationwide, with the chain filing for bankruptcy reorganization March 10.
McCoy said another pizza eatery will be entering the food court, probably within two months, although he declined to identify it until the lease is signed.
When it does bake its first pie or ziti dish, the new tenant will join a completely filled food court — that is after Charleys Philly Steaks opens, which should be within a month.
Other national moves have been announced in recent months, with electronics chain Radio Shack and restaurant company Ruby Tuesday saying they are closing locations. Ruby Tuesday is expected to shutter 30 restaurants, while Radio Shack said it will eliminate up to 1,100 of its stores nationwide.
Both of those retailers are longtime tenants of Peachtree Mall, with McCoy saying he hasn’t heard anything yet concerning the fate of local outlets.
Beyond that, the mall is looking to fill a couple of storefronts and has been shuffling some. For instance, General Nutrition Center has relocated temporarily to a former jewelry store space in the JCPenney wing as its new location is built out near FYE (for your entertainment) on the Macy’s side of the mall. The new GNC should open by the end of April.
The nutrition store moved from its previous location near the food court to make way for Journeys Kidz, a footwear retailer geared for youngsters 5 to 12 years old. It made its debut Feb. 22.
“We have a couple of other big projects out there, but we can’t announce those,” McCoy said of two mall additions that may be made public within two months.
He said neither deal is the former Parisian department store space, which has been vacant since Belk bought the Parisian chain in 2006, then decided not to convert the location to its brand. Department store retailer Dillard’s, the largest Peachtree Mall anchor, actually owns that space, but to date has said it has no plans to redevelop it.
The mall on Manchester Expressway opened in 1975 and has been expanded or renovated three times, the last coming in 1994. It has 100 stores with about 820,000 square feet of leasable space and 4,000 parking spaces.
The shopping center is owned by Chicago-based General Growth Properties, with its website saying the mall serves a trade-area population of 305,502 — about the size of the Columbus metro area — with a “projected population” in five years of 328,482 residents. Current median age is 34.2 years, it says, with average annual household income of $55,474.