- By Karen Dybis Special to The Detroit News
Dearborn — The Gap plans to open up to three women’s Athleta stores next year in Metro Detroit, a Gap official said Thursday.
The brand was started in 2011 to sell athletic clothing to women with an average age of 41, according to the Gap presentation made here at the International Council of Shopping Center’s Retail Runway event. The shopping center group hadn’t held the runway event since 2005, when Michigan’s recession started to deepen.
Athleta plans to open one to three stores in Metro Detroit, according to a representative of The Gap, which also operates Banana Republic and Old Navy stores.
The number of Athleta stores that open in the Detroit region will depend on how well mall representatives, commercial real estate agents and developers can sell or lease empty storefront space to The Gap. The shopping center group is holding its annual gathering that involves a lot of deal-making among retailers, developers and real estate agents.
Athleta operates 22 stores across the country and plans to open another seven locations this summer and fall, according to the Athleta website.
California-based Panda Express, Jersey Mike’s and Madison Heights-based Hungry Howie’s were among the retail and restaurant chains that announced they are targeting Metro Detroit for expansion.
Hungry Howie’s said it is looking for about a dozen new spots around Southeast Michigan, including Detroit. Bruce F. Brock, manager of new store development, told the crowd that Hungry Howie’s had its second year of record sales, so it is ready to grow as fast as the market will bear.
“We’d be a great tenant you’d be proud to have in your building. If you have a great site, we’d love to hear from you,” Brock said, noting that the chain is renovating its current stores and bringing a contemporary feel to its new locations.
Before the Retail Runway, some chains told The Detroit News about their expansion plans.
Dallas-based 7-Eleven said the convenience store chain intends to open 20 stores next year in Metro Detroit — including six in Detroit — in addition to seven new stores already under way. Since 7-Eleven averages 10 employees per store, the expansion adds about 270 employees in the next two years.
McDonald’s expects to spend $36 million on major remodeling of Michigan restaurants and $26 million on new construction this year, but wouldn’t be more specific.
Zoup! — the Southfield-based fast-casual restaurant chain that serves soups, salads and sandwiches — has 17 franchise locations in the works that could translate into 200 to 270 workers. It has 43 stores overall with 15 in Michigan.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120726/BIZ/207260466#ixzz21p66FxSF