Mall operator Simon launches push to rebrand and upgrade services

Waterford - Simon, the nationwide retail operator that owns the Crystal Mall, announced this week a new marketing push that will be paired with an updated strategy to provide improved services and amenities.

Simon said the relaunch of its brand, which will be heralded across the United States using social media, television, print and digital media, "is a part of a comprehensive strategy evolving the mall experience." The announcement came in conjunction with the International Council of Shopping Centers global convention in Las Vegas.

"We are confident there is further growth potential in our business," said David Simon, chairman and chief executive officer at Simon, in a statement. "We believe a brand that resonates with consumers and builds loyalty among millennials, families and luxury shoppers is an important driver of our future growth."

Simon said it is planning to introduce new programs and events targeted to specific customers as part of a so-called "omni-channel" strategy of retailing. Retailers focusing on this relatively new retail concept are geared toward delivering shopping experiences using a seamless approach across multiple platforms, including mobile devices, computers, catalogs and stores.

Among the possibilities, Simon said: same-day delivery of items ordered over the Internet.

But Karen Tarantino, Crystal Mall manager, said some of the changes will evolve over time, and she had no specifics on same-day deliveries. Many new amenities and strategies already are in place, she added, including new signage, wifi coverage, charging stations for phones and other mobile devices, new guest-services uniforms and a renewed effort among managers to greet customers and offer little surprises such as shopper rewards, coupons or chocolates.

"I think the customer can feel it evolving right now," Tarantino said.

Another evolving trend, she said, was an effort to boost stores devoted to women's shopping needs and to cluster similar stores in different parts of the mall.The idea, she said, is to pamper shoppers and make things easier for them.

"Clearly, it's a strategy we're going to embrace," Tarantino said.

Simon said it also is investing about $1 billion annually to update its malls, shopping centers and outlets across the country.

"With an increasingly robust mix, including luxury retailers and fine dining restaurants, these properties will become even more compelling retail and entertainment destinations," the company said in a release.

l.howard@theday.com

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