NEW YORK CITY-Shopping center owners are going to see familiar retailers rolling out new chains, said speakers yesterday at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ New York Conference at the Hilton New York & Towers hotel yesterday. They might also see some not-so-familiar new concepts expand.

Henry G. Beer, co-chairman of Boulder, CO-based design firm says he has high hopes for chains popping up around the country where people can drop off items to be sold on eBay for a small fee. “I think that is going to uncork huge amounts of discretionary buying,” he said, because shoppers will use the money they receive from those offerings to visit other stores in a center. Churches are other high-traffic developments that might start anchoring shopping centers, he predicts.

After a dry spell of retailer expansions, household names like Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap Inc. are testing new concepts, points out Dana Cohen, a managing director at Banc Of America. And some companies that have had problems aren’t shutting stores or filing for bankruptcy, she said. “The dead are not dying anymore,” she said. “Companies like Mervyns get bought.” However, Cohen predicts that in five-to-10 years there will be fewer big-box retailers than there are now.

But big box chains have potential to change, says Ron Pompei, president of New York City-based design firm Pompei A.D. “A big box is an amazing opportunity,” he said. “They’re not big stores; they’re small villages.”

At an earlier session yesterday, retailers including convenience store operator Quick Chek, clothing chain Work ‘N Gear and World Savings bank laid out their East Coast expansion plans. About 6,000 people are attending the convention, which runs through tomorrow.

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