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Americana no sweat to mall

Burbank Town Center officials suspect their new neighbor to the east won’t steal many shoppers, especially on hot days.

May 21, 2008|By Jeremy Oberstein

Nearly a month after the Americana at Brand opened in Glendale, many Burbank stores reported Tuesday that the outdoor shopping center to the east has had little effect on their operations.

“The Americana hasn’t affected our local shopping at all,” said Betsy Miringoff, spokeswoman for the Burbank Town Center Mall. “Hopefully, things won’t change.”

The 15.5-acre, $435-million development opened to the public May 2 amid a glitzy roar, with Glendale officials heralding the complex as a new day for the city and its shoppers.

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Four weeks in, the Americana has seen a steady stream of visitors to its nearly 50 retail establishments, including 475,000 shoppers during its opening weekend, according to a report released by the mall’s public relations firm Casey Sayre & Williams.

That popularity may, in fact, be working in Burbank’s favor, officials said.

“People went to the Americana the first week just to check it out, and it was so busy that they came back and said they weren’t going to shop there,” said Lucy Khachatrian, assistant manager for Aldo Shoes in the Town Center.

“We really haven’t suffered too much. People came back.”

The week before the Americana opened, Khachatrian recorded about 5,800 customer sales.

The week of its opening, she reported that 500 fewer customers visited Aldo’s, only to see most return the next week, she said.

Similar assessments have been made at Old Navy, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Forever 21, where store officials say they do not expect a decrease in customer sales.

“There has not really been a drop-off,” Forever 21 store manager Eliada Rodriguez said.

“If it didn’t happen for the opening, I don’t see it happening in the long run. We get a lot of high school students, and I don’t think they would make the commute to Glendale.”

Part of the Americana’s allure may be the mall’s 2-acre public park, which offers a respite for shoppers and a destination for nearby residents.

But a recent three-day stretch in May, when the National Weather Service recorded sustained temperatures of more than 90 degrees, may have been a factor as to why Burbank’s only indoor — and air-conditioned — mall continues to receive shoppers, Miringoff said.

Long term, Town Center officials are confident they will retain their base of shoppers because of the Burbank mall’s inherent differences.

“[Developer Rick] Caruso builds beautiful shopping centers, but it’s very different from the shopping center we have here,” Miringoff said.

“People don’t like walking around in 97-degree heat, and plus, we have different store selections.”

Still, some establishments reflected a cautious optimism as they continue to monitor the megaplex to the east.

“We’ve been OK, but I hope it doesn’t affect us,” Khachatrian said.


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