SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 12, 2012

What's new at the malls? Lots of new stores

BY ETHAN FORMANSTAFF WRITER
The Salem News

---- — Whether it’s an indicator of an improving economy or just a coincidence, a bunch of new stores are opening at the Northshore and Liberty Tree malls this fall.

Five new stores are opening at the Northshore Mall in Peabody, and a sixth store, Brooks Brothers, is relocating and expanding in a new location at the mall. Among the most anticipated is the shiny new The Container Store, a free-standing shop that is taking over the site of the former Bugaboo Creek.

The Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers is boasting three new permanent shops, including a self-service kiosk that can evaluate and buy back used consumer electronics for cash. It will also have two seasonal businesses.

Are the new stores a sign of an improving economy? The National Association of Realtors said in August that commercial real estate was recovering slowly amid a slow jobs recovery and tight credit market. But things may be looking up, as the association said the retail vacancy rate is expected to drop from 10.9 percent this quarter to 10.7 percent in the third quarter of next year.

Earlier this year, G2 Salon, LEGO, Apricot Lane and Crewcuts by J. Crew, a kids clothing store, opened in the Northshore Mall.

Here’s is a quick rundown of the new shops and when they will be opening.

Northshore Mall

The Container Store aims to help customers get organized and save space and time, selling a variety of shelving, storage systems, bins and baskets, cleaning supplies, and more. The new 24,000-square-foot store will open in mid-October. www.containerstore.com.

Orvis started as a specialty shop for fly-fishing gear, but you don’t have to be a fisherman to shop there now. Orvis sells clothing, home furnishings, gifts and dog products for those with an active lifestyle. It plans to open in October. www.orvis.com.

Brooks Brothers

is moving to a two-story, 12,650-square-foot location in the Nordstrom wing on Oct. 1. The retailer provides fine men’s and women’s apparel, and it’s adding new classic and innovative lines to the store. www.brooksbrothers.com.

For shoe and discount lovers, DSW, Designer Shoe Warehouse, will open on the lower level of the food court in November. www.dsw.com.

Speaking of the food court,Thai Grille and Sushi Cafe

is expected to open sometime this week offering authentic Thai cuisine and a variety of sushi.

If you like your specialty drinks shaken, not stirred, the owners of Venetian Moon in Reading are opening a new Italian eatery, Scosso Ristoranti and Martini Bar, this month.

Liberty Tree Mall

Fashion X

opened Sept. 1 offering costume and body jewelry along with body piercing services.

It’s not a Halloween shop, but

Ghost Armor, which opened Sept. 1 in front of the AMC theater, provides skins that can invisibly protect your cellphones, laptops and other electronic gear. www.ghost-armor.com.

What do you do with that old electronic gear? The self-service eCycling kiosk,eco ATM, opens Sept. 17. The automated kiosk evaluates and buys back consumer electronics for cash. www.ecoatm.com.

The large Halloween costume and decor retailer, Spirit Halloween, is now open. www.spirithalloween.com.

Calendar Club, offering calendars, games, puzzles and gifts for the holiday season, will open Oct. 1. www.calendarholdings.com.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.