(PRNewsFoto/Taubman Centers Inc.)
At least five major tenants at The Mall of San Juan will reopen during this quarter, Robert Taubman, CEO of Taubman Centers, the shopping center’s owners, confirmed.
H&M, Guess, Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters are slated to open by summer, adding to the roster of stores that will be back in business after a seven-month disruption in operations due to damage inflicted to the mall by Hurricane María last September.
“H&M is going to open…and Urban Outfitters. And we’re getting moderate traffic in the mall as well. And obviously, when a [30,000 square-foot store] like in H&M opens, that will enhance that,” Taubman said in a call with analysts to discuss the company’s first quarter results.
The Mall of San Juan has been recovering slowly since experiencing structural damages in the wake of Hurricane María. The event caused the mall to remain closed for a full month, through Oct. 19, when it reopened with about 60 of its tenants back online.
Anchors Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue remain closed, and a number of former tenants — like Chico’s, Marc Jacobs, Oil & Vinegar, Black Market/White House, Teavana, and Soma — opted to permanently close their stores post-storm.
However, many of those retail spaces were filled with new tenants, mainly local entrepreneurs as part of an overall strategy to reposition the mall.
“Since the last call, we opened 12 more stores. We now have 81 stores open. We’ve got five very important tenants under reopening — under construction — that are going to open this quarter,” he said.
“The sales productivity of the center, of the stores that are opened, was unbelievable this quarter,” Taubman said, without disclosing specific growth figures.
Although Taubman refrained from discussing details of the status of the litigation between the mall and Saks Fifth Avenue — a case that is being aired at the San Juan Superior Court — he hinted at a possible reopening by year’s end.
“And we can’t comment on Saks right now. Obviously, it’s ongoing litigation. And they had — they began their remediation efforts. They have not yet begun the reconstruction efforts, and those terms are well underway and…planning an opening later this year,” he said.
Because Puerto Rico’s tourism activity has not fully recovered yet, sales productivity at the mall has mostly come from local customers, the executive said.
“There are at least seven or eight resort hotels that are planning to open later this year, and we hope that by end of this year, we’re going to start to see tourism,” Taubman said.