MAY 5, 2015, 9:45 PM LAST UPDATED: TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2015, 10:28 PM
BY JOAN VERDON
STAFF WRITER |
Westfield Garden State Plaza confirmed Tuesday that it has signed five new luxury fashion brands as tenants, solidifying the Paramus mall’s profile as a center for high-end fashion.
Versace, Ferragamo, Longchamp, Burberry and Hugo Boss, with their Fifth Avenue pedigrees, will open this fall in a space created by the relocation of Victoria’s Secret and other stores. The deals will give the Plaza the only Versace store in New Jersey, and will help it match offerings at its two rivals for upscale mall shoppers — The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack and The Mall at Short Hills. Riverside has Hugo Boss, Burberry and Ferragamo shops, and Short Hills has Burberry and Longchamp stores.
The announcement by the Plaza comes as two of North Jersey’s other major malls deal with concerns about empty space and weigh decisions that could determine their long-term survival. The Shops at Riverside in Hackensack has more than 100,000 square feet of space that was vacated by Saks Fifth Avenue. Paramus Park has been talking for years about a movie theater wing, though work has yet to begin.
In addition to online retailing, which threatens the mall industry nationwide, North Jersey malls face the future opening of the American Dream shopping and entertainment complex in the Meadowlands.
The Plaza has been on a campaign to attract more upscale retailers ever since its leasing coups in the 1990s, when it landed North Jersey’s first Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus stores. In recent years, the mall has added Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. The new tenants will be located near those high-end neighbors, on the lower level.
North Jersey is fertile territory for affluent shoppers. The median household income in Bergen County is $83,974, ranking it 42nd among the nation’s 3,143 counties, according to the latest data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Last year the Plaza opened a fashion wing that included stores by designers Tory Burch and Vince Camuto, as well as a Microsoft store. Pirch, a high-end appliance showroom, opened in a corner of that wing in March.
The mall has added more than 40 retailers over the past year.