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Shops has seen a string of rival openings, the latest being Crystals at City Center. “Every time another mall opens we grit our teeth, but it just seems to bring more business to Vegas,” Crampton says. In terms of size at least, The Forum Shops

biggest rival is Fashion Show Mall. At 1.89m sq ft it is one of the world’s largest malls and it is anchored by no less than seven major department stores. Jim McMichael, senior marketing manager

for General Growth Properties, agrees that the growth in leisure visitors to Las Vegas has helped the city’s malls. But he points to a specific sub-set, the international visitors, as being key. “International shoppers spend more and dwell longer,” he says. “They only make up 18 per cent of Vegas visitors but they certainly form a higher proportion of Fashion Show’s customers.” With this in mind GGP has been targeting its tenant mix at this group. It brought Desigual from Spain and Superdry has chosen Fashion Show to open only its fifth US store.

But the biggest retail draw is the unrivalled

range of department stores. One is currently dark following Macy’s takeover of Robinsons- May but Forever 21 has just opened its biggest US store and it effectively functions as the seventh anchor. The stores run the whole gamut of US

retail from Macy’s and Bloomingdales in the mid-market to Nordstrom and Nieman Marcus at the high end. To European eyes one of the standout

elements of the Fashion Show Mall is the intense commercialisation activity. More than 50 carts and kiosks line the malls and although there are a lot of them McMichael insists it can be justified because of an intense focus on merchandising and service standards. And sightlines are dominated by massive

poster sites suspended from the mall ceilings. The Sky Murals, as they are called, are managed by Clear Channel, which also handles the huge display screens beneath The Cloud, Fashion Show’s impressive entrance statement on the Strip.

Despite all this activity, McMichael says

non rental income is still running at less than 5 per cent of revenue. But what makes Fashion Show stand out

are the fashion shows themselves, taking place during peak hours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. “We’re competing with the Pirate Shows at Treasure Island and the Bellagio Fountains,” McMichael says, “But we wanted to do something that wasn’t tacky.” The shows take place on a purpose-built

runway which rises out of the mall floor and they showcase the merchandise of mall retailers. Retailers don’t pay to be involved – and running a fully specified production studio is a massive cost for the landlord – but according to McMichael the show can drive sales increases of as much as 40 per cent when a store is featured.

Find out more: For more information, please contact the author: May 2011 SHOPPING CENTRE

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