Crabtree Valley Mall, one of the Triangle’s largest retail centers, is opening new shops as part of its 50-year anniversary, according to a Crabtree spokesperson.
OFFLINE by Aerie and Fabletics, two activewear clothing brands, will open sometime this summer. Two more apparel brands and a fragrance boutique opened earlier this year.
Fabletics features high-performance clothing for work, lounging “and everything in-between,” according to a news release.
“The brand wants their clothes to inspire people to live more active lives,” Crabtree spokesperson Melissa Timney said in a press release, “and they aim to create a community where every single person feels welcome.”
The company, which says it’s carbon neutral, markets its clothing for both men and women.
OFFLINE will be the latest store in the American Eagle family to open at Crabtree. The brand’s offerings include leggings, sports bras, tops, workout dresses, skirts and other clothing “made for movement.” All clothes are made from sustainable fabrics, according to the company.
La Parfumerie, a fragrance boutique offering only European perfumes, and BohoBlu, a women’s clothing brand that prides itself on affordable apparel and accessories, recently opened their doors.
Tidewater Boutique, a family-owned and North Carolina-operated clothing store opened at Crabtree in May.
Expanding at a tough time
Crabtree’s 1.3 million-square-foot complex is adding new retailers as many competitors shutter under pandemic pressures. Increased interest in online shopping has forced many longtime shopping centers into obsolescence.
Hundreds of malls have closed in recent years, leaving fewer than 1,200 across the country, in what what some are calling the 21st century “retail apocalypse.”
Of 1,000 malls tracked by Green Street, a real estate analytics firm, about 750 have vacant “anchor boxes” where retail giants like Sears, Nordstrom and Macy’s once thrived.
A 2020 study by Coresight Research estimated 25% of America’s malls would close in the next three to five years. Like many experts, Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, expects that trend to persist as internet shopping undercuts traditional retail operations.
“The whole business model of a mall,” he told USA Today, “which is about pulling in as many people as you can and getting them to stay for as long as you can, has just unraveled.”
Crabtree, which opened in 1972, has almost 200 stores, dozens of restaurants and three anchors: Belk, Belk Men’s Store and Macy’s.
Other popular destinations include H&M, Apple Store, Lego, Build-A-Bear Workshop, LUSH, Altar’d State, Madewell, Sephora, Tuft & Needle and Allen Edmonds. Dining options include Kanki Japanese House of Steaks & Sushi, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, The Cheesecake Factory, Seasons 52, Brio Italian Grill, Uncle Julio’s, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar and more.