Paul Demery , Chief Technology Editor
May 15, 2007 -- Sheldon Gordon, the visionary developer of next-generation shopping destinations, today announced his newest groundbreaking concept -The Epicenter Collection. Gordon created Convergent Retail LLC, the company that will develop the first Epicenter Collection. The Epicenter Collection is a revolutionary new retailing format, which will showcase over 60 world-class catalog companies, e-tailers, and brands. The majority of these have never been available before now in a shopping center or mall.
The first Epicenter will open in mid 2008 and will occupy an 181,000 sq. ft. anchor location at the Christiana Mall in Delaware. Federated Department Stores, Inc. has leased a former Lord & Taylor store in Christiana Mall to Epicenter, in exchange for which Federated has received an equity interest in Convergent Retail LLC.
Within Epicenter’s striking architectural format each Epicenter merchant partner will operate its own distinct, branded, retail location. The Collection will bring together a unique assortment of merchants and merchandise, while creating an exciting, new consumer experience.
“In a multi-channel world, consumers expect merchants to have retail stores,” said Antony Lee, CEO of Convergent Retail. “Epicenter provides online merchants and brands with a way to open successful stores. We will also be able to provide our merchant partners with a complete systems package to make their entry into retailing as effortless as possible.”
The Epicenter Collection will be a shopping destination that combines the convenience, speed, and efficiency of online shopping, with the real world experience of store retailing. Using Epicenter’s proprietary handheld shopping device called a SpreeGo, consumers will be able to shop Epicenter merchants with the same “point–and–click” functionality that, until now, has only existed on the web. Shoppers will be able to order products for free home delivery, as well as purchase items for take-home, thus being completely in control of their shopping experience.
“The Epicenter Collection is truly an evolutionary step in the business of retailing,” said Sheldon Gordon. “Our innovative handheld technology enables merchants to showcase products for free home delivery so that they can stock less merchandise while increasing their product selection.”
Christiana Mall, one of the nation’s most productive shopping centers, is owned and managed by General Growth Properties. Located on I-95 in tax-free Delaware, the center draws extensively from nearby Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. The center’s current anchors, Macy’s and JCPenney, will be joined by a two-level Nordstrom (Spring 2011) and The Epicenter Collection. The center’s merchandising mix is further enhanced by premier retailers including Apple, Coach, Lucky Brand Jeans and Williams Sonoma. Christiana Mall is preparing to undergo an extensive renovation and expansion that will include nearly 200,000 square feet of new first-to-market specialty retail and premier restaurants.
“We look forward to welcoming the world’s first Epicenter Collection store to Christiana Mall, one of our most valuable and productive properties. Convergent Retail’s decision to open at Christiana is testament to the strength of the center and its bright future,” said John Bucksbaum, chief executive officer of General Growth Properties. “The Epicenter Collection at Christiana Mall is a major step toward bridging brick-and-mortar retailing and online sales. I believe that Epicenter will show the successes that can accrue when you combine both quality shopping center experiences with online retailing.”
The Epicenter Collection is expected to generate unprecedented excitement among consumers while giving shopping centers like Christiana the ability to reinvigorate or repurpose strategic anchor locations. If the concept achieves the anticipated success, Convergent Retail intends to open up to one hundred Epicenter Collection sites over the next several years in other popular shopping destinations.
Convergent Retail LLC
Convergent Retail is a joint venture of Sheldon Gordon and Federated Department Stores. Sheldon Gordon is an innovator in the field of unique retailing venues which has been achieving unparalleled success for its partners and tenants for more than 40 years.
Sheldon Gordon pioneered the concept of combining entertainment with retail in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the nation`s most productive retail environment on a sales per square foot basis. He recently completed a 320,000 square foot, themed shopping complex at The Pier at Caesars in Atlantic City, and has been responsible for, among others, the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Center, and Bridgemarket in New York City.
Federated Department Stores, Inc.
Federated, with corporate offices in Cincinnati and New York, is one of the nation`s premier retailers, with fiscal 2006 sales of $27 billion. Federated operates more than 850 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy`s and Bloomingdale`s. The company also operates macys.com, bloomingdales.com and Bloomingdale`s By Mail. Contingent on shareholder approval, Federated`s name will change to Macy`s, Inc. and trade on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol "M", effective June 1, 2007.
General Growth Properties, Inc.
General Growth Properties is the second largest U.S.-based publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) based upon market capitalization. General Growth has ownership interest or management responsibility for a portfolio of more than 200 regional shopping malls in 45 states, as well as ownership interest in master-planned community developments and commercial office centers. General Growth’s international portfolio includes ownership and management interest in shopping centers in Brazil and Turkey. The Company’s portfolio totals approximately 200 million square feet and includes more than 24,000 retail stores nationwide. General Growth Properties is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol GGP.
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