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News Updates: May 2008

All updates from the month of May 2008 are listed below.

American Girl Boutique and Bistro to open at Collection
Written by Justin on May 21, 2008 at 6:53PM
  • If luxury retail can't make it at the Natick Collection, then perhaps specialty retail will be the shopping center's key to success. On May 12, Mattel Inc. announced plans to open a 20,000 sq. ft. American Girl Boutique and Bistro at the Natick Collection's "Promenade" streetscape area. The store - the only one in New England and one of only five company-branded stores, will offer dolls, doll outfits, books, and accessories; as well as clothing for girls.
  • The full story from the Boston Globe is online at http://www.boston.com/business/ticker/2008/05/american_girl_s.html.
Eight Nouvelle units sold in last 13 months
Written by Justin on May 21, 2008 at 6:36PM
  • It doesn't seem to be a good time to be in real estate, particularly if you're trying to sell 215 luxury units that are under construction.
  • In April 2007, 22 of the units had been sold. But in a recent update, the president of Otis & Ahern, the real estate firm responsible for selling the units, indicated that while 40 units had been reserved, only 30 had been purchased - meaning that in the past 13 months, only eight units were sold.
  • The MWDN has a full story online at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1192322366/.
May MetroWest retail tidbits
Written by Justin on May 21, 2008 at 5:25PM
  • Despite some retailers halting their openings at the Natick Collection, several luxury retailers are moving forward. Hugo Boss opened on May 9, and Salvatore Ferragamo is set to open in July.
  • Another tenant, low-cost French children's clothing store Okaidi, opened May 15th in the Collection. Hue Studio also opened its doors at the Collection on May 14.
  • Beantown, a new children's play area sponsored by MetroWest Medical Center, opened in the Natick Collection on the upper level near J.C. Penney on May 13th.
  • Want office space with great views of the Golden Triangle? According to signs outside the Hampton Inn in Natick, the top floor previously used as a Nouvelle sales center is for lease - seems they're not being turned back into hotel rooms after all.
  • Further down Route 9 in Natick, Domain - which conducted a liquidation sale earlier this year - auctioned off all remaining merchandise starting May 16th, coming to a full close on May 20th.
Globe: Downscaled hopes for an upscale mall
Written by Justin on May 21, 2008 at 5:19PM
  • A story in the Boston Globe recently profiled the mall's success so far - or lack thereof.
  • Restaurants at the mall are performing to expectations, as is the Nordstrom anchor store, but in an unstable economy with rising gas prices, the mall's opening might not have come at the right time. Retailers have delayed openings, with one tenant pulling out altogether, and stores have been running excessive promotions to bring customers into the quiet corridors of the mall during weekdays.
  • While the general belief is that the mall will eventually be successful, some say that General Growth - which owns the mall - misread the area's demographics, believing that an area with high average household incomes would appreciate luxury goods, but that isn't necessarily the case as Boston suburbs are not Chicago, L.A., or New York City when it comes to fashion.
  • The most controversial piece of the article, however, came in a quote from Stil owner Betty Riaz.
    • "It's been quiet. Even if you have money, you may not have taste. We have to educate our customers on style. It's hard. I thought it would be easier in Natick."
  • With that type of attitude, can the Natick Collection survive? Judge for yourself at http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/05/04/downscaled_hopes_for_an_upscale_mall/, and check out reader response at http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/letters/articles/2008/05/11/dont_insult_the_customer_for_starters/.

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