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Primark could help boost Walden Galleria

2 On Your Side spoke with a retail industry analyst who is very enthusiastic about a potential retail revival at the mall complex.

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — If you like to shop or know someone who does, it may be some very good news to hear a new store is coming into the Walden Galleria. 2 On Your Side spoke with a retail industry analyst who is very enthusiastic about a potential retail revival at the mall complex. 

Burt Flickinger of Strategic Resource Group Insight says, "Primark is a global juggernaut. And it's a real coup to get Primark. It's the crown jewel of off-price at Galleria."

That glittering endorsement for Cheektowaga's Walden Galleria Mall as Primark, founded in Ireland back in 1969, is now growing rapidly around the world and the U.S. with its newest store planned to open April 20th in the mall space of the now vacant Sears store.     

The expected discounted merchandise lines of women's, men's, and kid's clothing, shoes, lingerie, handbags, beauty items, and homewares will maybe have a certain flair according to Flickinger. "Best luxury brands. So Burberry for example - has raincoats, and outerwear for women and men. And the leading designers from London, Paris, Milan, from the states, and Canada."

Flickinger says Primark has flourished even as stores like Nieman Marcus and Macy's have foundered. The retail chain takes advantage now of "RTV" or returns to vendor items from closed stores or clothing vendors worried about the lack of outlets. And he feels this retailer will fill the gap of the Galleria's now shut-down Lord and Taylor's store.

He says they've handled stiff upper lip competition before. "Guess who Primark was competing against? Selfridges - the best luxury store head-to-head in London. Both were spectacular successes."

With that international appeal, Flickinger expects Canadians facing high prices and fewer choices will really flock to Primark and the Walden Galleria. Perhaps it will be a retail rejuvenation for the mall which really suffered from COVID consequences. We reported last summer that Pyramid Mall Management was pleased to get a three-year loan extension as they faced up to $270 million of debt.

"It's a great operator. They could very well be leading the way in the mall and shopping center total retail turnaround," Flickinger says.

Actually, a few days ago Pyramid Mall Management put out a press release stating that their overall sales for shopping, dining, and entertainment like movies went up by about 20% from January 2022 to January of this year. That is also of course as we have come out of the COVID pandemic. Pyramid operates Walden Galleria along with 13 other malls in New York and Massachusetts.  


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