Leisure Cover Stories

Still Growing: West County Center

Spring and summer brought sunshine, beautiful weather and big changes to West County Center! The shopping center in Des Peres welcomed several new retailers, and some existing occupants underwent exciting expansions. New additions included NobiliTea, Attic Salt and Dry Goods, a contemporary young women’s fashion retailer from Von Maur. H&M and Altar’d State both had extensive remodels. The latter, a unique clothing boutique that gives back through charitable donations, increased to more than 10,000 square feet and added A’Beautiful Soul, which offers plus-size options. With fall fast approaching, more changes are on the horizon.

Sean Phillips, the shopping center’s marketing director, is happy to report that West County Center’s occupancy was at 97 percent at the end of last year, which is above the national average of 91.4 percent as reported by real estate research firm Reis. “The national vacancy rate at metro and regional malls around the United States was the highest it’s been since the end of 2012, but national, regional and local retailers continue to expand at West County Center,” he notes. Along with the high occupancy rate, the center has seen its sales per square foot exceed the national increase of 4.9 percent in July, according to the National Retail Federation.

And more exciting additions will continue. A Lululemon Athletica pop-up shop has opened on the upper level near Nordstrom, and fashionistas will want to check out Colette Collection, which offers an array of clothing, accessories and gifts. Later this fall, Kindred, another fashion boutique, will open, and La Senza, a global lingerie brand, will add a West County location to its more than 340 stores worldwide. Even the food court has seen some changes; the popular ice cream spot in the Loop, Snow Factory, has brought its Thai-style ice cream rolls to shoppers. Local wine bar Copia also will open its third location at the center this fall.

The center will host its Spotlight Social from 5 to 8 p.m Oct. 5 to celebrate all the shopping center has to offer. Stores will showcase their latest trends and merchandise, and there also will be a DJ, selfie station and prize drawings. “It’s a new event, and it gives guests the perfect opportunity to check out all of the latest styles, biggest trends in makeup and hottest gifts for the holidays,” Phillips says.

Since October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the center is partnering with Susan G. Komen Missouri for the event. Guests will be able to honor breast cancer survivors and fighters through an interactive exhibit. Local Komen executive director Suzanne Fontaine is excited about the partnership’s potential to raise awareness. “We are so honored to work with West County Center for the Spotlight Social,” she says. “October is the perfect time to shine a light on breast cancer and remind people that while we’ve made great strides in addressing the disease, we still have lots of work to do. It’s a great opportunity to celebrate survivors and rally support to continue the effort to end breast cancer forever.”

With all of the negative press surrounding the decline of brick-and-mortar retail, Phillips says West County Center is happy to report continued growth. In response to stories about malls struggling, he likes to borrow a turn of phrase from famous Missourian Mark Twain: “The reports of our death are greatly exaggerated.”

West County Center has welcome many new store this year. Pictured on the cover: The expanded Altar’d State and A’Beautiful Soul. Altar’d State is a unique clothing boutique that differentiates itself through giving back and offers a distinctive shopping experience for women. For more information, visit shopwestcountycenter.com

Cover design by Allie Bronsky | Cover photo by Tim Parker Photography

Pictured above: Dry Goods at West County Center is on Level 2 near Nordstrom.
Photo courtesy of West County Center

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