Business

H&M set to open in August at Coastal Grand mall amid flurry of other store changes

H&M is scheduled to open in August after waiting several years to get the right location in Coastal Grand Mall. The new store will occupy over 20,000 square feet.
H&M is scheduled to open in August after waiting several years to get the right location in Coastal Grand Mall. The new store will occupy over 20,000 square feet. cslate@thesunnews.com

H+M plans to open its first area store at Coastal Grand mall in August, which is expected to cap a wave of change at the shopping center that includes renovated stores and a shuffling of tenants.

About 10 new stores are scheduled to open this summer, including H+M in late August, mall general manager Steve McGhee said. Rue 21, an apparel and accessory retailer targeting young consumers, Fun Wear sports apparel and five other new stores will open this month.

Another dozen tenants have remodeled their spaces or are amid the renovation work, and several had to move to new locations in the mall to make room for highly sought after clothing chain H+M, which is consuming 20,175 square feet near the food court that used to house six other tenants.

H+M -- with a business model of selling quality fashion and accessories for women, men, teenagers and children at the best price -- has the popularity to lure even more new stores, McGhee said, adding that it also was a desired tenant because it doesn’t already have a store along the Grand Strand. H+M could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

“We wanted a big tenant that was a game changer,” McGhee said. “We think H+M is that tenant.”

The changes are the most significant for the 1.3-million-square-foot mall since it opened in March 2004 and brought new retailers to the market including Bed, Bath and Beyond, Dillard’s and Abercrombie & Fitch, among others.

“I think that is definitely a smart move,” Viki Johnson, manager of Flip Flop Shops, said of all the changes to keep the mall fresh. “We definitely want to make sure it stays that way.”

Johnson said she’s especially excited about H+M joining the lineup, as one of the store’s main entrances will be right across from her store.

“It’s going to be bringing a lot of the younger crowd in,” Johnson said.

The mall requires that tenants remodel after 10 years, which has led to the flurry of renovations at stores such as Starbucks, Hollister, Champs and nine others. The new looks have brought brighter stores, the latest trendy decors and electronic boards that weren’t even thought about a decade ago.

“See what the new stores are doing in electronics, big screens?” McGhee said as he walked by Justice, which moved to a new spot and renovated to make way for H+M.

But several stores have left the mall; some didn’t renew their leases and other chain retailers filed for bankruptcy or struggled nationally. Among the stores that have left: Hallmark, Kirkland’s, New York & Company, Cache, Wet Seal, Delia’s. The food court lost Chef Smitty’s and Abuelo’s (the restaurant outside the mall remains open).

Some shoppers thought all those store closings meant the mall was struggling. Johnson said she told customers about the transition and that the sentiment has shifted since word spread about H+M.

“I’ve had a lot of questions about it,” Johnson said. “They did think the mall was closing down. We are definitely on the upward curve now.”

A few shoppers this week said they missed some of the stores including Kirkland’s, but added that the mall still has a lot to offer.

“They always have something here,” Ralph Johnson of Myrtle Beach said. “They aren’t going anywhere.”

A couple of food establishments are among those that have moved in, including Hwy 55 Burgers Shakes & Fries in the food court and a Cinnabon.

“I guess change is good, if they get some new stores in here,” said Whitney Sellers of Conway, who already is hooked on Cinnabon. “I will still be coming here for that.”

McGhee said the mall is about 75 percent complete with the changes, and shoppers should be satisfied once H+M opens and the work is done.

“When it first happened and some of those [stores] closed, we did get some comments from customers,” McGhee said. “I think when it is all said and done, and all the tenants are open, we will be much better off.”

Contact DAWN BRYANT at 626-0296 or on Twitter @TSN_dawnbryant.

Coming soon to Coastal Grand mall

Opening this month

Rue 21

Miracle Eyebrow

Piercing Pagoda

Brazilian Paradise in the food court

Fun Wear sports apparel

Maria’s Gourmet Italian Ice

iFix Mobile Solutions & Electronics

Opening in July

Mrs. Fields/Pretzelmaker

Opening in August

H+M

Opening in September

Windsor ladies’ boutique

SOURCE | Coastal Grand mall

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