In other retail news: Macerich’s new venture and challenges

Macerich, the owner of Broadway Plaza, just scored big with the 71-percent win on Measure I, which will allow it to build a new 92,000-square-foot department store on the former David M. Brian store spot. So, that means Walnut Creek will most likely be getting its Neiman Marcus.

That is, unless Neiman Marcus backs out of its emphatic promise to open a new store in Walnut Creek. Or unless, the Neiman Marcus opponents have some other maneuver up their sleeve–perhaps another lawsuit, this one to block the results of the November 3 election. Can’t say, though, that such a move would go over very well or win their cause any support. My guess is that most residents, even those who will rarely if ever shop at Neiman Marcus (moi!), just want to put this whole nasty, annoying, costly battle over this department store behind them. And get on with other city issues to gripe about–or to celebrate…

Meanwhile, I came across this tidbit in Andrew Ross’ Bottom Line business column in today’s San Francisco Chronicle. And it has to do with Macerich. It talks about Friday’s grand opening of the Northgate Shopping Center in San Rafael, which is owned Macerich. And, actually, the center is 40 years old and never closed. It just went through a major remodel, and brought in new stores, restaurants, and “a strollable, town-plaza feel.”

Ross notes that, despite a slight uptick in retail sales, consumer sentiment is at its lowest level in three years. Meanwhile, the Great Recession, Ross says, has “taken a bit out of” of Macerich’s income. Revenues for the Santa Monica company slid 11 percent in the third quarter, and “its overall forecast has been cut, and pieces of its other shopping centers have been sold off, including most recently, a 49 percent interest in a New York City mall.”

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