And no doubt of it, most of them are dying. Not too long ago, I commented on Scottsdale Fashion Square, Arizona’s answer to Rodeo Drive. That entrancing venue along with an open-air shopping center are about the only retail malls in the Phoenix area that can be said to thrive.
Friend of mine and I made a grand tour of Scottsdale Fashion Square a few months ago and found the commerce pretty lively. The rich, after all, are always with us. And when there’s only one Prada store in the whole state, well…
So yesterday SDXB, who appears to be dying of boredom out in lovely Sun City, announced that he wished to schlep to Scottsdale and spend some time hanging out in that august realm.
We arrived shortly after 10 a.m. and were greeted by — wouldn’t you know? — a friendly concierge, who apologized for all the construction. The place was pretty much torn apart, though the stores were trying to do do business around the chaos. Probably because of said chaos, the place wasn’t as crowded as it had been, but new and even more ridiculously upscale stores had been moved in.
We spent about 5 hours trotting around. Then we went to a couple of freestanding stores in central Phoenix, which required us to not walk but RUN across two major thoroughfares, twice. By the time we headed home, we had gotten our exercise, free, thanks to a three-story shopping mall and a spread out sprawl of storesl
And therein lies a strange tale:
We observed that all the Majorly Fancy-Pants Retailers — Armani, Bulgari, Kate Spade, Jimmy Choo and a slew of others — are clustered together on the west end of the mall. The middle-brow stores that you’d expect to see in an ordinary shopping mall anchored by a department store or two are banished to the east end of the mall, down by the entrance to the movie theater and the greasy-smelling food court.
Hm. Interesting strategy. In effect, they end up with two malls: Rodeo Drive on the Desert and yet another plain-vanilla shopping ghetto for boring chain stores full of Chinese products: J. Jill, Ann Taylor, Express, and on and mind-numbing on.
Remains to be seen how that will work out. Personally, my guess is that most of the custom will go to the elegant stores, and the Chinese-junk stores will languish. Why even bother to go out to buy that junk, when you can order it on line? But why not go out and buy from a Brighton or a Cartier when you are Mrs. Gotrocks, you can afford it, and you have nothing else to do? And no, you’d never be caught dead in a dowdy piece of J. Jill fatlady junk designed to fall apart in six months?
How d’you think this will go, dear readers?