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ORLANDO-Hoping to generate sales of at least $250 per sf of leased space, the 1.6-million-sf Florida Mall–Orlando’s largest–and the 1.3-million-sf Mall at Millenia lock horns Oct. 18 when Millenia debuts on 405 acres at the newly built Interstate 4 exit at Conroy Road in south Orlando.

At least 25% of the stores at Millenia are duplicated at Florida Mall.

Thirty retail chains and four restaurant companies are betting individual stores at both properties will flourish despite the tight demographic customer-drawing circle.

But some retail observers are not that certain. Others believe stores at both centers will succeed because they will be attracting customers from different pocketbook levels.

“There will be a battle for sure and there will be some sort of shakeout at some point,” David W. Marks, president, Marketplace Advisors Inc., Maitland, FL, tells GlobeSt.com. “But we already have some duplication of stores on International Drive” and those stores aren’t shutting down, the consultant says.

From a logistics view, Marks says Millenia stores will probably emerge victorious over sister units at Florida Mall.

“Millenia is right off I-4, a far easier stretch if you are coming from Walt Disney World than it would be going to Florida Mall which could be reached from either the Florida Turnpike, U.S. 441 or Sand Lake Road.”

Tourists “won’t go to both malls, even though the anchors are different,” says the former Trammell Crow Co. executive. “The challenge for Florida Mall is its size.” Florida Mall, a Simon Property Group asset, is three million sf larger than Millenia.

Forbes Taubman Orlando LLC Millenia is developing Mall at Millenia. Detroit-based Forbes Co., Taubman Centers Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, MI and Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group are national developers with reputations of rarely making incorrect marketing strategy moves, consultants say.

“Retail is all about volume,” John M. Crossman, senior vice president, Trammell Crow Co./Orlando, tells GlobeSt.com. “Since both of these malls depend on tourist (meaning local demos are less important than normal), a retailer could survive having one (store) at both (locations).”

Crossman says, “If the volumes are strong at both, owners will keep both (stores).” He cites McDonalds as an example of a company with fast-foot outlets within one mile of each other.

“If tourist numbers stay strong, both will survive,” Crossman says. If those numbers start dropping, “one location could close,” the consultant says.

.”My prediction is that many of those tenants will have locations in both malls, long term,” Crossman says.

Retailers that have stores at both malls are by category:

Apparel–Ann Taylor, American Eagle, Arden B, Banana Republic, bebe, Casual Corner, Express, Gap, Petite Sophiscate, Talbots and Victoria’s Secret.

Bath, body and beauty–Bath & Body Works, Crabtree & Evelyn.

Eateries and food–Barnie’s Coffee & Tea, California Pizza Kitchen, Chick-fil-A and Mrs. Fields Cookies.

Footwear–Nine West and Rockport.

Home Furnishings–Williams-Sonoma.

Jewelry and gifts–Godiva Chcolatier, Mayors Jewelers, Sharper Image and Swarovski.

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