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UPDATE: Moorestown Mall Losing Gap, Gap Kids

The clothing retailer will close its stores at the mall by the end of the month.

UPDATE: Andrea Hicklin, a Gap spokesperson, explained that the Gap and Gap Kids at the Moorestown Mall are among the final stores to be shut down as part of the "long-term real estate strategy" the company outlined in 2007.

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Amid all the growth and revitalization buzz surrounding the Moorestown Mall, the shopping center is losing a major retailer at the end of the month.

According to Lisa Wolstromer, senior marketing director for the mall, Gap and Gap Kids will close at the end of January. 

The mall has struggled with occupancy in the past, though it added a slew of stores last year, including Cotton On, Crazy 8, Play N Trade, NJ Dollar Mart, the Nailery, Cinnabon and Kids Foot Locker. 

Wolstromer painted the loss of the Gap in a positive light, saying it gave the mall "an opportunity ... to recapture that space and repurpose it for another tenant."

"Like any mall, you go through periods of change," she added. "You lose retailers, but you also bring in new retailers who are going to be popular and meet the needs of our customers."

She also noted that Gap has been closing a number of its stores across the country over the last few years. The company announced in 2011 that it would be closing nearly 200 locations by the end of 2013. Wolstromer was unable to say whether the decision to close the Moorestown Mall Gap was made by the clothing retailer or by PREIT, owner of the Moorestown Mall.

As for plans to replace the Gap, Wolstromer said the mall was talking to several different retailers, but couldn't provide any other information at this time.

The new Regal Premium Experience theater—with 3D capabilities, digital projection screens and stadium seating with reclining seats, among other amenities—is expected to open later this year, along with Marc Vetri's Osteria and Firebirds Wood Fired Grill. The additions are part of PREIT's plan to revitalize the mall. 

PREIT has yet to announce the other two restaurants it plans to add (using the liquor licenses it purchased from the township last year). 

Charlotte Knight January 23, 2013 at 08:10 PM
It is a sad commentary when The Moorestown Mall touts a "slew" of new retailers and some of those new tenants are a nail shop and a dollar store. Though they say they can now "capture" the space of GAP and GAPKids, it is difficult to imagine another go-to retailer taking over that real estate. I bet Marc Vetri will love being neighbors with Dollar Mart. Good job Preit...I can see the lines forming now!
Charlotte Knight January 23, 2013 at 08:12 PM
Most likely the delay with the other licenses is...they have no takers.
Our Town January 23, 2013 at 08:51 PM
That's great, Gap and Gap kids is probably enough for two more movie screens. Maybe the poor mall business can drive out all the retailers and we can recreate the Pennsauken Mart with an AMC 75, yes, 75 screens of movies that no one bothers to go see any longer. More space for a nearly dead industry. Well done. Can someone pass the popcorn?
Rob Scott (Editor) January 23, 2013 at 09:06 PM
Reading some of the comments on here—and other stories about the mall—begs the question: Do people expect the mall to fail because it's struggled for so long, or do they legitimately want it to? I'm just curious.
Bobby29 January 23, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Maybe the mall needs to consider new managment, it's not getting the job done. Maybe do what Cherry Hill Mall did and completely reimagine the mall and make it more upscale to promote bringing and keeping larger bussinesses here in Moorestown. The movie theater is one good step closer to accomplishing this!
Joiner Fee January 23, 2013 at 10:33 PM
Well, it appears that the quote of bringing in those restaurants " will get people to shop at the mall". This just proves the mall is hurting more and more. The restaurants mentioned aren't going to "bring in shoppers". Most probably haven't even heard of the two eateries that are coming.? Those restaurants may not be a magnet to the mall. If they brought in upscale chain restaurants , like they did in cherry hill or garden state track shoppes, people would recognize that and would draw to the mall. So so far I'd say it appears a grade of. "C" at best for the plans so far .
Mtown mom January 23, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Give the $5 million back and let it close. We don't need the mall
Townie January 23, 2013 at 11:51 PM
You are absolutely right...so long as you find the $2.2M they pay in real estate taxes on the $111M of assessed value. Of course now that they have the liquor and their attorney advising counsel, they're bound to win the appeal of that valuation so that we have to give them a nice long tax holiday....so it'll sorta feel like they went out of business when you get your tax bill.
Townie January 23, 2013 at 11:52 PM
Same owner.
Bobby29 January 24, 2013 at 12:46 AM
I know Preit controls both. Hopefully they can either get rid of it and sell it to someone else or make the necessary improvements. May be too late now.
life time resident January 24, 2013 at 02:44 PM
People that would frequent a Vetri resturant will want to shop at the Moorestown Mall. Thats the selling point to "upscale resturants" right...the resturants will attract shoppers and provide additional revenue. I never understood the paralell for people enjoying a $50 and up per plate meal, and then shopping at this mall. Face it, the place is a dump and it has been for a long time. It will be equally long before liquor or a $$$$ resturant changes that.
Elizabeth January 24, 2013 at 02:53 PM
Rob, why don't you call Preitt and ask them why they are letting retailers like Gap go? An upper level manager for Gap told me last week that the store in Moorestown was doing fine. They were closing because the mall management would not do what it needs to do to make that mall better. It's not one of the stores that Gap is closing to consolidate business or whatever was reported earlier. She said the lease was up, they tried to negotiate, but Preitt was basically not present. I would love to know why Preitt is only bringing in no name low budget stores. I can't believe they can't get some good stores in there. Believe me, we will support a mall with decent shopping but when Gap and even McDonalds bails, it does not bode well.
Rob Scott (Editor) January 24, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Elizabeth, The information I got came from an official Gap spokesperson. This is what she emailed me: "The Gap store closures scheduled in January 2013, including the Gap and Gap Kids at the Moorestown Mall, are the final stores to be shut down as part of the long-term real estate strategy outlined in 2007." I don't know where you're getting your information, but it sounds like the decision to close this store was made by Gap Inc. and not PREIT.
Our Town January 24, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Rob, It sounds to me as if Elizabeth's sources may be saying a similar thing. Yes, it sounds like Gap has made the ultimate decision to close the store, but was that decision based on the performance of the mall management? It is unlikely we will ever know. I don't believe that anyone really wants to see the mall fail, but it's hard not to be a least a little cynical over these events. On one hand you have the mall touting it's new upscale image through its restaurant agreements yet on the other hand, they are also touting new additions to the mall like a nail salon, a dollar store, and the lowest tier of the Gymboree tier structure, Crazy 8. Externally the mall management looks to be heading upscale, internally, downscale. It's this confused message that has us collectively rolling our eyes.
Charlotte Knight January 24, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Well said Our Town.
Charlotte Knight January 24, 2013 at 06:44 PM
This may well be merely a rumor, but the manager of one of the "stores leaving" told me that they have been told that one of the committed restaurants may not be so "committed" to the mall.
Great Town January 24, 2013 at 06:49 PM
I've heard a lot , "rumors" too. It appears, without the upscale chain attractive restaurants, rather than ones most haven't heard of before, and losing known stores to budget stores this appears to be going in the wrong direction? Good points "our town" this is getting strange with all the hope from 2011. What's next? Why or what hasn't been approved for the east gate situation? Is that falling through? Maybe the "vote no on liquor" group knew more than we did? What's going on?
Rob Scott (Editor) January 24, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Can't say I've heard any of the same rumors some of you folks have—and I talk to a lot of people. I would suggest however that, while the people who comment here may not know (or claim they don't know) who Marc Vetri is or what Osteria is, there are an abundance of people through South Jersey who recognize that name. The idea is to make the mall a regional attraction, not just a Moorestown attraction. That's what PREIT is aiming for. I'm not a mall or a PREIT defender, just a defender of common sense and facts, not rumor-mongering and negativity for negativity's sake, which there seems to be a lot of regarding this topic.
Great Town January 24, 2013 at 07:31 PM
To be fair, not many people know who or what vetri restaurant is. It looks good, but it appears the vast majority don't know what it is versus a major chain or attraction establishment.
life time resident January 24, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Rob, there's no doubt that you are right in your statement there are an abundance of people through South Jersey will recognize the Vetri name, but the point of the liquor vote was to save the mall from its ultimate demise. This would be accomplished by bringing in restaurants, with the idea that people would eat and shop thereby transforming the mall into the regional attraction that you have talked about. The point some of the readers are making through their comments is that the mall isn’t a destination that people want to shop in, at least not en masse and that is due to the quality and selection of stores in the mall, nothing else. One would expect to see a positive change in the mall and its tenants considering that we are supposed to be starting some sort of transformation, but as folks are pointing out, it doesn’t look that way. The simple truth and common sense facts remain; if the mall had stores that consumers wished to shop in, it would be considerably busier than it is, or has been in some time.
MtownLifer January 24, 2013 at 08:39 PM
Reading the comments above (excluding Rob's) I get the distinct feeling that most of the commenter s were anti mall and liquor in the first place. It seems they would be happy, or at least feel vindicated if the mall would fail. I would remind them that not only is PREIT a great contributor to our town, but also the largest taxpayer. I certainly trust their business sense over the rumors and negative innuendo coming from the peanut gallery above. What does appear likely is that PREIT is resetting itself, expanding its' footprint, and planning for the long term. And, I wish them great success in their effort. I could never understand why people always speculate on the negative side of things. It's like they resent the idea seeing any possibility of success that isn't their own. But then, they're not willing to put it on the line or put forth the effort in order to achieve. ...just bad mouth those that do. I have been seeing a lot of that in this country over the last four years. What's so great about a society that bashes its spirit of success for the laziness of mediocrity.
Great Town January 24, 2013 at 09:39 PM
M lifer.. I'm not bashing the mall, in fact shop there a couple times a week. Don't want the mall to fail. Just trying to find answers and hear rumors.. Struggling to find answers.
Charlotte Knight January 25, 2013 at 12:18 AM
I truly don't think anyone is bashing the mall. I believe all residents would love to see a vibrant transformation but it is difficult to fathom how this is all going to fall into place.
MtownLifer January 25, 2013 at 12:25 AM
GT, I wasn't singling you out in particular, but why listen to rumors since that's all they are. I am sure that answers will come following decisions by PREIT. It won't change my life, so I can wait without any second guessing. Considering their sizable reinvestment in the Mall, I assume they will do just fine in the future. That's a calculated guess, not a rumor.
Gary Braxton January 25, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Many people may have never heard of Vetri restaurants but before Maggiano's, Bahama Breeze,Grand Lido Cafe, Seasons 52 came to Cherry Hill I had not heard of them either. Despite being a no voter for liquor at the mall, I can only hope that these restaurants will be a draw to some. Osteria is rated one of Phillys top ten spots and will probably do well. Even if it isn't a 'shoppers draw ' , their rent is better than no rent.
jolee January 25, 2013 at 01:10 PM
MtownLifer thank you for so eloquently stating what I, and many others, feel but don't have the energy or desire to argue about with naysayers.
ML January 25, 2013 at 08:43 PM
Will there be a store closing sale at Gap? That's really what I want to know...
Charlotte Knight January 26, 2013 at 01:37 AM
Last week all sale merchandise was an additional 50% off. Any new merchandise that had already been shipped to Moorestown, was being transferred to other area stores. I am sure by now most everything is pretty picked over. I did manage to get a few steaming hot deals. :)
Samoht January 30, 2013 at 04:46 AM
Gap @Marlton Square will gladly satisfy all Gap customers!!
Jessie April 04, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Anyone remember the name of the store outside of Macy's next to the Kinkaide store? It was a store that hall all sorts of furniture, wall hanging, lighting fixtures, loved it, and the prices were fab. I wanted to see if they have relocated. The owner was such a nice fellow, too!

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