The long bank holiday weekend has proven that doing business is still important to shoppers, at least this time of year.
Optimistic retailers are betting that consumers will return to stores as the pandemic restrictions eased. From pop-ups to fixed locations and moves, local business owners and national chains have committed to new business in the Dallas area.
“Dallas is a big retail marketplace with people getting early on in its growth,” said Steve Dennis, Dallas-based retail strategist and author Notable retail. âAnd there is a new appreciation for stationary retail. Many new brands with new capital are in a race for their ratings. I don’t see it stop. “
The new retail has to follow an old playbook, he said. The many new brands that have launched online like Yeti, Allbirds, Away Luggage, Leatherology, Outdoor Voices and Untuckit have taken a path that catalogs like Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table and J. Jill took a few decades ago. They opened stores where they had a lot of catalog customers, he said. Established brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, who have started selling direct to consumers online in recent years, are also following customers with new stores. Both opened in Planos Legacy West this year.
Some concepts are driven by people who have quit their jobs or have been forced to start their own business. Creative species have filled new spaces for collaboration, such as MKT Dallas in the West Village and Mosaic Makers in the Bishop Arts District. Both have opened second stores in the Galleria Dallas.
Others are proving that a single category, from succulents to lipsticks, can be incorporated into a new store concept.
Courtney Goldberg’s Urban Spikes design studio on Alpha Road in Dallas is now open to buyers. After a 10 year career in public relations, Goldberg, mother of three boys under 9, discovered her talent as a plant designer. Goldberg’s store is filled with their modern plant, succulent, and cactus arrangements, as well as sand, rocks, natural gemstones, driftwood, and plants that are used for custom orders or for shoppers wanting to design their own.
Canadian cosmetics brand Bite Beauty decided to share an experience with their lipstick brand Lip Lab. It was sold exclusively at Sephora and started opening its own lipstick stores in the US this summer. The first store in Texas is in the NorthPark Center. For $ 60, buyers can create a shade, choose a finish (matte, satin, bright, or transparent), and then choose the packaging. You can also name your exclusive color.
NorthPark is benefiting from retailers considering going to Texas.
Faherty, a family-owned clothing company that started out as a wholesale brand, has opened stores including one in NorthPark. Twin brothers had the dream of starting their own brand and got back together in 2013 after one worked at Ralph Lauren and the other in investment banking at Cerberus.
One of America’s oldest brands, Levi Strauss & Co., has a new concept store. There are plans to open 100 of them, including one in NorthPark later this month.
Jo Malone London, an established British fragrance brand sold by Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, opened a boutique in NorthPark after deciding to open her own stores. The store has all of its 30 her, his and home fragrances, which are available as candles, diffusers, bath and body products. The lifestyle brand even makes fragrances for weddings.
The jewelry brand Maria Tash, which so far only has three US branches, has just committed to opening in NorthPark next spring.
New concepts are bubbling up from the growing number of people who want to be their own boss.
âNowadays you can be what you want to be. Now I’m saying I’m a plant designer, âsaid Goldberg, whose Urban Spikes business has three employees and corporate clients who buy botanical garden arrangements for $ 1,000 and $ 1,500. Now the store also has a clientele who come in for this unique $ 50 gift.
Katy Sensenig Schilthuis opened her first Mosaic Makers Space in the Bishop Arts District in 2018 on a tiny 300 square meter space with her Fresh Out of Ink brand of cards and gifts and eight other women exhibiting their wares. The concept quickly grew out of the room and moved to 2,000 square meters.
âPart of it is that people want to own their own business; they rethink their livelihood after the leave of absence, âsaid Schilthuis. “Many of them started after March 2020 when COVID made them sit back and reevaluate.”
She has a waiting list of manufacturers who want a place in their stores, and she believed there was a market for what she was doing in North Dallas, too. Their second location opened this summer in the Galleria Dallas.
So far, according to Schilthuis, the location in the Galleria has been a positive experience and it is âeye-openingâ to learn something about the various buyer demographics. People spend more per purchase in the Galleria store, she said. Still, opening a second store is a huge risk, even if merchandising manufacturers support the concept, she said.
According to Coresight Research’s weekly tracker, US retailers have announced 60% more store openings since the start of the year than last year, with just over 5,000 stores and roughly the same number of closings.
It follows a year in which retailers closed 10,000 stores and opened about 3,500.
And based on a broader retail scale, which includes restaurants, according to research firm IHL Group, for the first time since 2017, more locations are expected to open than closed this year.
These measures track companies that have 50 or more stores, so the numbers don’t capture some emerging online brands or smaller, equally growing companies like Ariat. The western boat and lifestyle brand opens its fifth US store in the Fort Worth Stockyards on December 17th.
Austin-based clothing retailer Tyler’s has seven stores and is “scouting new locations across Texas,” said Justin Dermit, director of e-commerce and marketing for Tyler’s. The retailer has just moved from its longstanding location on Lovers Lane after its lease expired. It is now located in the Preston Royal Village in the area vacated by Barnes & Noble. The new store in Dallas opened on November 20th. It’s twice the size and easier to shop, which translates into higher sales, Dermit said.
Companies following the local market, such as Weitzman and CBRE, said existing space in Dallas-Fort Worth is trending. “Existing retail properties are popular not just in Dallas, but nationwide,” said Weitzman spokesman Ian Pierce.
Spec’s Fine Wine and Spirits snapped a portion of a Best Buy that closed in Irving earlier this year. Plano-based At Home plans to open in the former JC Penney at Timber Creek Crossing in Dallas in February. Big Lots and Sprouts Farmers Market are taking up existing retail space in the area, along with several new health clubs that have sprung up.
Jeff Kittleson, CBRE general manager for retail in Dallas, said apart from a few vacant department stores in malls, the availability of good space without new construction is at an all-time low.
Retailers were preparing for higher traffic this year, Kittleson said. “There is a backlog of people who enjoy the traditional Christmas shopping experience and are excited to shop again in person.”
Are you looking for more retail coverage? Click here to read all retail news and updates. Click here to subscribe to D-FW Retail and other newsletters from The Dallas Morning News.