Several new retailers will make their regional debuts in the first half of 2013 at Westfarms Mall, and a few others will be expanding or moving to new locations.
"These are great new retailers. It's sad to see old friends leave but exciting to see new retailers come to this market," said Westfarms General Manager Kevin Keenan.
At the same time, Keenan said that there will be some physical changes made to the main mall entrance between Macy's and Lord & Taylor. "It will be a complete redesign, modeled after the Brio/P.F. Chang's entrance, more stylish and contemporary," Keenan said.
On Monday, Westfarms management announced that Athleta, Tommy Bahama, and Kiehl's Since 1851 will open their first area stores at the mall this year.
Athleta, which has stores in the New York Metropolitan area, Boston, and in several major retail hubs throughout the country, plans to open its first Connecticut store this spring on the upper level of Westfarms, near JCPenney, in the space formerly occupied by Nike and most recently a temporary bookstore.
Athleta is a well known retailer of women's performance apparel and gear, including footwear and accessories. The brand was purchased by Gap Inc. in 2008, and originally was available only through a catalog or online.
Tommy Bahama will also move into the local market in time for the summer season, taking over the space vacated by Harry & David on the mall's upper level near Nordstrom.
A news release from Westfarms describes Tommy Bahama as a "global, island-inspired lifestyle brand that defines relaxed, sophisticated style. From the moment guests step inside the beach house-style store, their senses are treated to the delightful fragrances, rich colors and subtle textures of paradise." The store will offer clothing, accessories and footwear for men and women, as well as island-inspired home décor and travel items. The retailer currently has a store at Mohegan Sun.
Kiehl’s Since 1851, which will occupy the former Nine West space on the upper level Nordstrom wing "was founded as an old-world apothecary in New York’s East Village neighborhood," according to the company's website.
The arrival of luxury retailer Tory Burch, which will move into both the former Solstice and Munson's spaces on the mall's upper level near the Macy's Mens/Furniture store, was announced last September. Tory Burch is scheduled to open during the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Monday's release.
Solstice has closed, but Munson's Chocolates is relocating – to the lower level near Nordstrom – and will be expanding its offerings of chocolates and adding a dipping bar for one of the store's favorite treats, chocolate-dipped frozen bananas. The new store will open in April according to Westfarms management.
LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics also announced in late 2012 that it is preparing to open in March. The British company, which describes itself as "the ultimate beauty delicatessen" will be located in the vacated Gloria Jean's Coffee space on the lower level.
Other changes include a near-doubling of Forever 21's square footage with an August move to the lower level near Macy's and a renovation of Express/Express Men. 77kids by American Eagle is rebranding and will become Ruum American Kids Wear.
Champs Sports has already relocated to the mall's lower level, near Nordstrom, with an expanded selection according to management.
It seems like a lot of reshuffling, but Keenan said that annual changes are expected. "There are stores changing. It seems new every year, but this happens every year," Keenan said.
What is notable, he said, is the quality of stores that continue to be attracted to Westfarms for their entry into the market. "They're all great retailers unique to the market. We're happy to be the first to get them," he said.
Retailers do their research, said Keenan. "We're a proven entity."
Keenan said that Westfarms is also looking at making some other changes "inside and outside," and further information will be forthcoming.