Women's clothing store and national chain Loft, once known as Ann Taylor Loft, has leased the space formerly occupied by Eddie Bauer at Mayfaire Town Center.
The Eddie Bauer store, which sold men's and women's clothing and shoes, closed at the Wilmington center in January.
Paige Coniglio, specialty leasing manager at Mayfaire, confirmed the lease to Loft of the 5,500-square-foot space at 6819 Main St. in the shopping center, where anchors include Regal Mayfaire Stadium 16 movie theater, Belk and Barnes & Noble.
Officials with the company that owns Loft, ascena retail group inc. (Nasdaq: ASNA), said in an email Monday afternoon that the projected opening date for the Mayfaire store is May 18. Asked whether Loft is leaving its Independence Mall location at 3500 Oleander Drive for Mayfaire Town Center or whether there would be two Loft locations in Wilmington, the email stated, "There has not been final determination on either store."
The officials said they chose Mayfaire Town Center to lease space for Loft because "Mayfaire represents a more brand appropriate center with better co-tenants and upside potential for the brand."
The company also owns Loft sister brand Ann Taylor, dressbarn, children's clothing store Justice, Lane Bryant, Catherines and maurices. Lane Bryant has moved from Independence Mall to 950 Inspiration Drive at Mayfaire Town Center, and the center also currently has Ann Taylor and Justice stores.
Mayfaire, built in 2004 with later additions, has long been credited with luring national chains away from the mall to its wealthy submarket. More retail space is on the way to the Mayfaire/Landfall corridor in major mixed-use projects that are expected to rise over the coming months and years. And experts predict more retail changes
in general for the Wilmington area and beyond.
In addition to Eddie Bauer, the J. Crew clothing store at Mayfaire Town Center also closed in January.
Meanwhile, officials with the parent company of Loft say that brand is doing well nationally. Announcing the company's holiday sales performance Jan. 14, CEO David Jaffe said in a news release, “We are pleased to have delivered enterprise comp sales and margin growth over the holiday period, although we continue to strive for more balanced performance across our brands.
"Momentum continued at Loft and Ann Taylor, with strong product acceptance across both brands driving double digit comp sales [7 percent for Ann Taylor and 14 percent for Loft] and margin growth at our Premium segment."