National chains shuffle between mall and Route 5 in Meriden



reporter photo

MERIDEN — The retail shuffle between the Meriden Mall and Townline Square Plaza on South Broad Street continues with Old Navy returning to its former spot in the plaza and Ulta moving next door.

Chris Powers, manager of the Meriden Mall, confirmed Old Navy would be leaving its mall space with the opening of a new store at Townline Square. Ulta, a national beauty products chain, left the mall two years ago and will be opening in its new space in several weeks. 

Townline Square, located near the Wallingford line, has attracted major national names. Burlington, Michael’s, Marshall’s, and Big Y are longtime tenants. Jersey Mike’s, the Edge fitness center, Five Guys, Ting Ho, Bath and Body Works and Game Stop are also traffic generators. Game Stop recently closed its mall location but kept its store at Townline Square. The stand alone storefront that was once home to a Pier One is among the only vacancies.

“It’s been doing a fantastic job, and probably only has one or two vacancies,” said Economic Development Director Joseph Feest. “It’s done a great job attracting (big box stores). It’s an attractive area with a lot of traffic and a great selection of stores. There are clothing chains, a grocery chain, and restaurants. It’s got a good mix of stores and that’s what makes it successful.” 

Townline also has the benefit of Route 5 traffic. 

 Old Navy moved to the mall about 10 years ago from Townline, and is now going back. The store is expected to open this winter. 

“The mall is always going to have ups and downs, and work its way through things,” Feest said. 

He pointed to Yale New Haven Health’s plans to revamp the former Macy’s wing at the mall, occupying 180,000 square feet with health care services. A dinner theater planned for the mall is also expected to draw a different crowd. 

“For every negative, there is a positive,” Feest said. “They always have a tenant on deck...But we’re happy Old Navy is staying in town and Ulta is coming back to town.”

The Meriden Mall also said goodbye to electronics retailer Best Buy in October. The Old Navy store is located in the same wing with Dick’s, TJ Maxx and Boscov’s, the busiest part of the mall.

“Our Meriden Mall, like many others in the country, is transitioning,” Midstate Chamber of Commerce President Rosanne Ford said in an email. “We will soon have the Meriden Public Library there taking up a large footprint and also bringing different traffic to the mall. The 7, 8 Dinner Theater plans to launch in the spring and there are some new eateries in the food court.”

 Ford also pointed to the addition of Yale New Haven Health services as a good sign. The Midstate Chamber is talking with the Meriden Mall about holding some events there in 2022, including job fairs and health and wellness showcases. 

“I’d venture to guess that the holiday sales and traffic at the mall were strong as it was bustling when I headed over or drove by,” Ford said. “Certainly e-commerce has significantly impacted our brick and mortars, but there is still a market for the traditional shopping experience.”

Matthew Shay, president of the National Federation of Retailers, said November retail sales were 15 percent higher than 2020 and the holiday season was a success.

One trend he sees is stores recognizing the importance of their physical locations on branding and customer experience. 

“Even digital stores have gotten into the physical outlets,” Shay said. 

“Over the last three years, retailers were forced to think more about their physical locations, and how to use real estate creatively.”

mgodin@record-journal.com203-317-2255Twitter: @Cconnbiz



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