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HODGKINS, IL-Wal-Mart has expanded its lease to 201,000 square feet at The Quarry Shopping Center in this southwest suburb of Chicago. The discount retailer previously occupied about 121,000 square feet took on an additional 81,000 square feet in the recent lease renewal. The company is one of few to be experiencing growth in the challenging market, thanks largely on its emphasis on low prices and an increased focus on value by consumers in light of economic conditions.

“It’s one of their better stores,” says Richard Spinell, principal of Oakbrook Terrace-based Mid-America Asset Inc., which acts as leasing agent for The Quarry. “The store was a regular Wal-Mart and now they’re expanding it to a Super Wal-Mart, with more food offerings. They are a great tenant, and they do really well here.” The store will remain open while its new space undergoes construction, with a grand reopening planned for this fall.

Built in 1992, the 650,000-square-foot shopping center at the southeast corner of Joliet and La Grange roads is fully leased. Another tenant at The Quarry, Kohl’s has also expanded its space there in recent years by 20,000 square feet. Target has the option to expand as a provision of its lease at the shopping center.

Asking lease rates at the shopping center range from the mid-$20s to the mid-$30s. Other recent leases at the center include gaming retailer Play N Trade, which took 1,600 square feet, and Dress Barn which renewed its lease for 7,500 square feet at the center. Retail occupancy in the Hodgkins/Countryside submarket is in the mid-90s overall, Spinell says.

Wal-Mart believes consumers’ increased priority on value will last well beyond when the economy recovers, making growth a sound decision long-term. “When economic conditions improve, we believe customers who shop Wal-Mart today will stay with us, because of the business improvements we’re making and continue to make,” Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. president and CEO, says in a recent statement. “Across the company, we are building our brand by reducing costs, sharpening our merchandising and updating our stores.”

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