MERIDEN – The store mix between Meriden Mall and Townline Square Plaza on South Broad Street continues with the Old Navy returning to its former location on the square, and Ulta moving next door.
Chris Powers, head of Meriden Mall, confirmed that Old Navy would leave its mall with the opening of a new store on Townline Square. Ulta, a national beauty product chain, left the mall two years ago and will open in its new space in a few weeks.
Townline Square, located near the Wallingford line, has attracted big national names. Burlington, Michael’s, Marshall’s and Big Y are longtime tenants. Jersey Mike’s, Edge’s Gym, Five Guys, Ting Ho, Bath and Body Works and Game Stop are also traffic generators. Game Stop recently closed its mall, but retained its store on Townline Square. The single-storey storefront that was once home to a Pier One is among the only vacancies.
“It’s done a fantastic job and probably has only one or two vacancies,” said Economic Development Director Joseph Feest. “It has done a good job of attracting (large checkout stores). It is an attractive area with a lot of traffic and a large selection of stores. There are clothing chains, a grocery chain and restaurants. It has a good mix of stores and it is 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 returning. The store is expected to open for the winter.
“The mall will always have ups and downs and work its way through things,” Feest said.
He pointed to Yale New Haven Health’s plans to renovate the former Macy’s wing in the 180,000-square-foot mall. A dinner theater planned for the mall is also expected to attract another crowd.
“For every negative, there is a positive,” Feest said. “They always have a tenant on deck … But we’re happy the Old Navy is staying in town and Ulta is coming back to town.”
Meriden Mall also said goodbye to electronics retailer Best Buy in October. The Old Navy store is on the same wing as Dick’s, TJ Maxx’s and Boscov’s, the busiest part of the mall.
“Our Meriden Mall, like many others in the country, is changing,” Midstate Chamber of Commerce President Rosanne Ford said in an email. “We will soon have the Meriden Public Library there, which takes up a large footprint and also brings different traffic to the mall. 7, 8 Dinner Theater plans to be launched this 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 to Meriden Mall about holding some events there in 2022, including job fairs and health and wellness showcases.
“I would venture to guess that the holiday sales and traffic in the mall were strong as it was busy when I was crossing or driving past,” Ford said. “Admittedly, e-commerce has significantly impacted our bricks and mortars, but there is still a market for the traditional shopping experience.”
Matthew Shay, president of the National Federation of Retailers, said retail sales in November were 15 percent higher than in 2020 and that the holiday season was a success.
One trend he sees is stores recognizing the importance of their physical locations for branding and customer experience.
“Even digital stores have come into the physical stores,” Shay said. “Over the last three years, retailers have been forced to think more about their physical locations and how to use real estate creatively.”