Retailer quits Fashion Island
A major beauty chain's exit from Fashion Island after six years is disappointing, but not a sign the shopping centre lacks foot traffic or sales, the centre manager says.
The Body Shop will move to one of two vacant sites in a new building at 181-183 Trafalgar St, the former site of the Trendez and Specsavers stores, in late September.
The old, two-storey building has been demolished and a new, one-storey building is being constructed in its place.
The new building will have space for two tenants, but it is not yet known what business will occupy the remaining spot.
Body Shop NZ managing director Barrie Thomas said the company had been very happy in Fashion Island, but the opportunity to relocate to a larger, new store in Trafalgar Street was too good to miss.
The company constantly evaluated its store portfolio, and when leases were due for renewal made a decision to stay or to relocate.
The new store will be on the ground floor and all current staff would move there, he said.
"The store will be an example of the new global design from The Body Shop and will be the fourth example of this design in NZ. The product range will be the same as in our other stores but the store layout encourages more interaction between our staff and customers," Mr Thomas said.
The Body Shop was among the 11 original tenants of Fashion Island when it opened in 2007.
Centre manager Nicola Dolan said she was disappointed that the shop was moving.
At this stage there was no confirmed tenant to take over in the location, she said.
The centre's leasing agents were following strong leads and there had been people come and look at the site, but nothing had been confirmed yet.
The centre valued The Body Shop "as much as any of our tenants", she said.
"We value all our tenants equally, I personally get on well with the girls."
The move did not suggest Fashion Island did not have enough foot traffic, she said.
"Last Monday at 4.30pm the cafe was full and there was loads of people. Then I went down Trafalgar St and it was empty.
"I wouldn't go so far as to say I dispute that claim, but ... I'm happy with the foot traffic, it's strong, the stores are performing well."
Overall sales in the centre were up 10 per cent compared with the same time last year, she said.
It was difficult to estimate the level of foot traffic, as unlike a normal mall there were many ways to enter, she said.
Elsewhere in the centre, the California Burrito company was still seeking a franchisee, she said.
She was not aware of any other tenancy changes on the way.
"I'm expecting my tenants to stay stable."
Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan said the move made some sense for the business.
"As much as it's a blow for Fashion Island, when you look at the fact that Lush and the Body Shop are next to each other, maybe it's good for them to move to another site in the city."
Nelson was very lucky to have a Lush store, she said.
The Body Shop's move, paired with the possibility of a Wakatu Square development with Farmers, meant Trafalgar St had an exciting future as a location for boutique shops, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News