Magnolia Mall’s new stores, jobs a contrast to experience in other parts of US

By: Andrew Boardwine, Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. — While malls around the U.S. begin to dwindle, Magnolia Mall in Florence is experiencing growth unlike anything it has seen before.

Magnolia Mall, at 2701 David H McLeod Blvd., opened in 1979 and sees hundreds to thousands of Pee Dee residents visit its stores daily.

Kelsey Hill is marketing manager for PREIT, the mall’s parent company.

“Magnolia Mall is a staple in the Florence community and we are always looking for new and exciting ways to cater to the residents whether it’s with our fun events or favorite retailers,” Hill said. “Also, by bringing in new stores and restaurants, we are able to add hundreds of jobs to aid in the growth and success of the Florence area.”

While it seems that the Magnolia Mall is trending toward an increase in growth, Credit Suisse, a global financial service corporation, predicted that up to 25 percent of the nation’s malls could close by 2020. The service suggests changes in consumer shopping habits and failing department stores as reasons malls have been dwindling.

Joe Coradino, chairman and CEO of PREIT, said that the company is breaking the trend by staying “out in front of the problem.”

“We get tenants that are going to drive more traffic and drive more sales to our properties,” Coradino said. “The rationalization that has occurred in the department store space has been a good thing. We didn’t need that many and the result is that you replace them. We’ve differentiated to dining, entertainment, health and beauty, fitness, on and on and on.”

Hill added that the company is always looking to add and change things in its malls that will create a better experience for its customers.

“PREIT is continuously looking to improve the quality of our portfolio through innovative twists on the shopping mall framework and the addition of in-demand retailers and fresh experiences,” Hill said.

The mall made renovations to the food court and has added several new retailers in 2017 and early 2018, including Burlington, Five Below and Journey Kidz.

HomeGoods is set to open on Sunday, May 6, in between Burlington and Five Below and H&M will open in the mall later this year.

In the outparcel locations, Chick-fil-A will become a full-service, sit-down 5,000-square-foot restaurant after being a drive-thru only restaurant for the past 25 years. PREIT also announced the addition of a Texas Roadhouse, which will go out near IHOP and is set to begin construction in November.

“We are thrilled to be continuously offering our shoppers additions and improvements,” Hill said. “2018 is a huge year for us and you will see plenty more new, remodeled, and expanded stores. We know everyone will be thrilled with some of the other retailers that we will be announcing very soon.”

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