Rouse, Nordstrom unite for new markets


LAS VEGAS - Nordstrom will continue a brisk national expansion by opening seven new department stores over the next three years in malls that Columbia-based Rouse Co. is building or redeveloping, officials of the two companies said yesterday.

The Seattle-based retailer is venturing into five of the markets for the first time, including Las Vegas, San Antonio, suburban Nashville, Tenn.; suburban Cincinnati and Louisville, Ky. Nordstrom will also open stores in Rouse malls in Minneapolis and Salt Lake City.

"It's a big deal for us, no doubt about it," said David L. Tripp, a Rouse spokesman. "This is a lot of deals to do between one developer and one department store chain in a short period of time."

Those projects, plus a mixed-use center in Coral Gables, Fla., that also includes a Nordstrom, represent $2 billion worth of construction, he said.

Rouse and Nordstrom have signed letters of intent for the projects, including four new regional shopping centers.

Rouse has been working closely with Nordstrom in scouting locations for the new malls in Cincinnati, Nashville, San Antonio and Minneapolis, Tripp said.

"These newest stores are in many of the markets we've wanted to be in for some time and have great potential," said Marty Wikstrom, president of Nordstrom full line stores.

The multi-deal announcement is unique because only a handful of regional malls are being built, with few developers able to finance numerous projects at once and thus attract a highly sought-after anchor chain to multiple locations, Tripp said.

Winnning Nordstrom as an anchor of a regional malls is considered a coup in the retail industry, according to analysts, because of the pull the chain has on both customers and other high-quality tenants. Nordstrom operates 72 stores nationwide, including three in the Baltimore area.

The planned stores, scheduled to open in 2002 or 2003, range in size from 140,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet.

The highest profile project will likely be the 1.8 million-square-foot Fashion Show mall, on Las Vegas Boulevard in Las Vegas, where Rouse is projecting sales of $800 per square foot, four times the industry average.

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