'Upscale' Big Lots coming to Hamburg

Eastland site will close; new store will be higher-end

ssloan@herald-leader.comAugust 11, 2010 

Big Lots, a retailer famous for its deep discounts and appeal to low-income shoppers, has signed a long-term lease to open a location in the more upscale Hamburg shopping center.

The store will open Oct. 8 in the former Linens 'n Things space between Bath & Body Works and Dressbarn. The chain's store in Eastland Shopping Center on Winchester Road will close.

"It was a tenant that frankly we had a lot of reservations about when they first contacted us," said Dave Miniutti, senior vice president for retail leasing at Hamburg developer Thomas Enterprises. "They've sold us on the fact that it's not going to be your typical Big Lots."

Miniutti said Big Lots' leaders pointed to a number of recent openings of so-called "platinum" stores that feature higher-end products in place of its traditional second-run items.

"They fashion themselves as a mini-Target," he said.

Representatives of Big Lots, which also has a store in Garden Springs Shopping Center, did not return multiple messages.

A few factors also contributed to Big Lots' success in entering the shopping center. First, while the Linens 'n Things space was 30,000 square feet, it was a relatively deep building with less frontage, Miniutti said. That would have made it difficult to subdivide the space into two stores, as the developer did in the former Goody's space that now houses shoe retailer DSW and, in September, an Ulta cosmetics store.

Because of retailer closings during the recession, "the pool of tenants in that size range has shrunk nationally," Miniutti said.

He added that the developer, which owns that section of Hamburg along with areas including the Village shops near the Regal cinema, did not want to hurt its other tenants by bringing in their direct competitors.

The signing of Big Lots fills the largest hole remaining in the section owned by Thomas Enterprises. A couple of vacant spots remain in the Village, with the largest being the former Dawahares store.

Reach Scott Sloan at (859) 231-1447 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 1447.

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