Fortunoff to open Backyard Store at Fashion Center

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The Fortunoff Backyard Store is planning to open its second location in the Christiana Fashion Center.

The retailer has nearly three dozen locations in the Delaware Valley, the New York City suburbs and Florida.

The Fortunoff family is well known in the New York area and operated furniture and jewelry stores before their enterprises went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceddings during the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009.

The company’s other Delaware Backyard store is on Concord Pike, in north Wilmington.

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The family name re-emerged with the opening of Backyard Stores, which have been adding locations. Demand has been strong for upscale backyard and deck furniture for new and renovated homes.

Fortunoff Backyard Store adds to the number of drawing cards for the “lifestyle center” near the mall.

The center saw the opening of another anchor tenant, with March opening of Main Event, a gaming, bowling and entertainment center. Other anchors include Raymour & Flanigan furniture, Nordstrom Rack, outdoor REI, Container Store, Saks Off 5th and Best Buy.

The Fashion Center has also drawn a half dozen or so dining spots.

The growth at the Town Center has cemented the status of the mall area as the top retail destination in Delaware.

As concern over the future of retail stores has grown, Christiana Mall has been listed as one of the nation’s stronger retail sites, due to high sales per square foot and an estimated 20 million annual visitors.

The mall does not have a Sears store. The troubled company is closing its Prices Corner store in Delaware as well as other stores around the country.

In addition to Target, other anchors at Christiana Mall include Macy’s and JC Penney.

Christiana Mall is not exempt from troubled times in retailing. However, the occupancy rate has typically remained above 90 percent with available space often filled by the holiday shopping period.

The Fashion Center, which is nearing full occupancy for retailers, one example being Talbot’s, which exited and later opened a store at the Fashion Center.

Christiana Mall, owned by shopping center giant GGP, underwent a major renovation a few years ago that brought restaurants, Nordstrom and Target to the center.

The Fashion Center is part of locally owned Allied Retail Properties, which also owns the nearby Christiana Town Center, which is anchored by Boscov’s and Concord Mall in north Wilmington.

(A previous version incorrectly reported a 90 percent vacancy rate)

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