Feb 012006
Authors: Drew Haugen

In the wake of the often pocket-emptying and debt-building holiday season, coffers for many retailers are full of seasonal wealth. But with the new rise of the Promenade Shops at Centerra, the coffers of Fort Collins retailers may not be as full as last year.

After the opening of the Promenade Shops at Centerra on Oct. 28, the shopping complex swelled from 30 shops to 48 by the end of 2005. The new shopping center stretches out in its easily accessible locale at the northeast intersection of Interstate-25 and Highway-34 just outside Loveland.

And with residents of the likes of Asian cuisine magnate P.F. Chang's and literary monolith Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Centerra's new glitz and glam appealed to many Front Range consumers after it's opening last year.

"We were hurt for the first week that it opened" said Ryan Douglas, executive team leader of hard lines at the Target store in Fort Collins. Target noticed a "draining" of Fort Collins consumers by the Centerra Mall during late October and early November following the premiere of the Promenade Shops, but Target soon recovered its consumer base.

"I think (Fort Collins shoppers) went to see what it was about, and then came right back."

Douglas thinks the Promenade Shops at Centerra cater more to smaller Front Range cities south of Fort Collins, such as Loveland, Greeley and his home, Johnstown.

"Fort Collins is a pretty loyal city, and a good basis of our shoppers are students," Douglas said. "Students aren't going to want to drive down to Centerra when they can go to the same shop here. Same with other shoppers."

Douglas said the Target store in Fort Collins reached its projected goals for 2005 sales, and that Target is looking to expand its market share in the solid Fort Collins shopping market.

The City of Loveland has recorded $152,800.61in sales tax receipts from the Promenade Shops at Centerra through November 2005, said Teresa Adler, revenue manager for the City of Loveland. Sales tax figures for the month of December are still being tabulated.

Sales tax figures are based upon the 3 percent sales tax for transactions at the Promenade Shops at Centerra assessed by the City of Loveland. Almost half (1.25 percent) of the 3 percent Loveland sales tax is allotted for public improvements of the Centerra development, including streets, signage and sewers, resulting in a net sales tax of 1.75 percent for the City of Loveland.

Based upon initial sales tax numbers it appears the Promenade Shops at Centerra fared well during its first months of business, especially given the fact that the shopping complex hopes to add 10 new occupants during 2006.

When compared to its contemporary, the Foothills Fashion Mall, net taxable retail sales for the Fort Collins mall were down 4.2 percent and 2.9 percent in the months of October and November, respectively, when compared to 2004, said Jeremy Reese, sales tax manager for Fort Collins. Reese added that figures for the month of December have not been released yet.

"I would say that a 5 percent decrease is a respectable holding of our own," said Cynthia, Eichler, general manager of Foothills Fashion Mall. "Anytime you have a new offering in the community we realize that shoppers are going to explore that and that dynamic exists."

"There are always new competitors; people asked 'how is Foothills Mall going to do with the opening of Wal-Mart' and we've done fine." Eichler added. "Anytime there is redevelopment we experience growing pains."

But with "some of the best real estate in Fort Collins" located in the epicenter of the Fort Collins community, Eichler said things are looking up for the Foothills Fashion Mall: "The outlook for [the Foothills Mall] is strong and positive with good things to come. Retail makes Fort Collins a regional destination."

Drew Haugen can be reached at regional@collegian.com

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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