|June 21, 2017||Comments Closed|
Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has more than 600 locations, has plans to place a store in Richland Mall, according to a building permit issued by the city of Waco.
It may fill the vacancy left when Forever 21 relocated to Central Texas Marketplace and take space adjacent to the former Forever 21, mall manager Kandace Menning said. The city building permit is for a 44,000-square-foot space.
Menning said CBL & Associates Properties, which owns the mall at Waco Drive and West Loop 340, is continuing talks with Dick’s.
She acknowledged Dick’s has secured a permit to remodel space but declined further comment on the move. Dick’s, based in Pennsylvania, did not return calls and emails seeking comment about its interest in the Waco market.
Menning also declined to speculate on the impact Dick’s would have on traffic at the mall, which has lost retailers to Central Texas Marketplace besides Forever 21, including Old Navy and the Gap. Best Buy relocated to Central Texas Marketplace from a building adjacent to the main mall.
A manager at Hibbett Sports in Richland Mall who declined to provide a name said rumors about Dick’s Sporting Goods moving in have circulated. The manager also declined to offer an opinion on the move.
Ryan Norwood, a manager for Foot Locker in the mall, said he could see the new store having both a negative and positive impact on Foot Locker.
“They could take some of our apparel business. But they also could bring more people into the mall, and they might decide to give us a try if they don’t find what they need at Dick’s,” Norwood said. “Any new store here will be hot for a while, but then shoppers will become accustomed to it.”
Dick’s announced in 2015 it had updated its growth strategy to include the opening of 135 to 150 stores in the next three years, according to a report in the trade magazine Chain Store Age. The same article said it hoped to focus on “new and underserved markets,” and that it had upped its fiscal year 2017 sales target from $8.7 billion to $9 billion.
“This is really good for Richland Mall,” said real estate agent Brad Davis, who is not involved in the transaction. “I know there is a lot of discussion about Central Texas Marketplace, but I honestly believe the mall has a better location at West Loop 340 and Waco Drive.”
Davis said he was somewhat surprised Dick’s would not choose to build a free-standing store locally, “but they know what they want in a market.”
The closest Dick’s to Waco operates in Harker Heights in Bell County.
Dick’s is moving to open in the Waco market as Gander Mountain, which sells sports apparel and outdoors gear, continues its quitting-business sale at South Valley Mills Drive and Bagby Avenue.
Gander Mountain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced intentions to liquidate inventory in every store, though investor Marcus Lemonis is acquiring the assets of the better-performing stores and will operate them under the name Gander Outdoors.
Meanwhile, Sports Authority closed its store in Central Texas Marketplace in 2014, one of 25 the chain identified as underperforming. Two years later, Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy protection, and Dick’s Sporting Goods won an auction for its naming rights.
Elsewhere in Richland Mall, Victoria’s Secret is growing by 2,000 square feet to become a Victoria’s Secret Pink with expanded merchandise. Bath & Body Works also is expanding to serve as a Bath & Body Works White Barn store that offers a line of fragrances.