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24 National Retailers Entering The Philly Market In 2017

Although the brick-and-mortar presence of retail is waning as e-commerce gains market share, Philadelphia’s increased national profile has corresponded to a steady flow of national retailers entering the market for the first time. Here is where they are landing.

Center City

Warby Parker's NY flagship store on Greene Street
credit: Warby Parker
The interior of a Warby Parker store in New York

Though high-profile retail in Center City had spent years restricted to a few blocks of Walnut Street, increasing demand for space has grown the sphere of activity farther east and to Chestnut Street. But for national retailers dipping their toes into Philadelphia for the first time, or online retailers using Philly for their first round of brick-and-mortar openings, Walnut Street remains the safest entry point.

Warby Parker opened its first Philadelphia location at 1523 Walnut St. in January, according to CBRE, after parking a bus to sell its eyewear in a parking lot on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown the year before. Just around the corner, brand-name spin studio SoulCycle opened its first Philly location at 113 South 16th St. after entering the greater area in Ardmore last year.

UNTUCKit, a retailer specializing in dress shirts for men meant to be worn untucked, started online in 2011 but will add Philadelphia to its growing list of brick-and-mortar locations at 1611 Walnut St. this fall, in a location previously occupied by American Apparel. CB2, a hip furniture offshoot of home goods retailer Crate & Barrel, will also be moving into 1422-24 Walnut St. this fall.

Arts and crafts chain A.C. Moore chose Philadelphia to open its first urban concept store this year, following in PetSmart’s footsteps from last year. A.C. Moore will be a block north of the traditional retail corridor at Broad and Chestnut streets.

California-based bakery Paris Baguette and New York-based lunch spot Just Salad both opened their first Philly locations in the spring on Chestnut Street, just a few doors away from each other on the 1700 block. VERTS Mediterranean Grill joined them a couple of blocks away at 1601 Market St.

Later this year, two grocery chains will enter the Philly market in the central business district: MOM’s Organic Market near the under-construction East Market development at 34 South 11th St., and bfresh, with its first store outside of Massachusetts at 201 South St. in Society Hill.

King of Prussia Mall

24 National Retailers Entering The Philly Market In 2017
Construction on the King of Prussia Mall expansion as of January 2016

As second-tier malls continue to suffer perhaps the most among retail’s shifting stands, the King of Prussia Mall remains a stalwart in the market that is going in the opposite direction. Its expansion, completed in 2016, is adding multiple high-end retailers this year.

Italian fashion chain Bottega Veneta opened its first location in the region in February in the expansion, according to CBRE, and big name Gucci joined it just a few months after. Over the course of the year, Fendi, Joie and Marc Cain will add to the super-luxury offerings at King of Prussia, cementing the mall’s position as the swankiest place to shop in greater Philadelphia.

UNTUCKit will also be opening a location in the mall later this year, double dipping with its Center City entry. Other brands already sold in larger stores will be opening their first dedicated Philly stores in the mall: Shoe and accessory retailer Ecco is on its way, as well as premium cookware brand Le Creuset and skincare and cosmetics brand Clarins.

King of Prussia Town Center

24 National Retailers Entering The Philly Market In 2017
A drone photo of the King of Prussia Town Center

The open-air retail complex focused on dining and entertainment options is redefining the town of King of Prussia, and it continues to expand its restaurant offerings with several small-but-trendy regional chains expanding into the Philly market for the first time.

North Carolina-based Duck Donuts recently opened in the town center, when previously its closest location to Philly was in Newark, Delaware. South Jersey suburb Marlton will also be gaining a Duck Donuts later this year.

D.C.-based Founding Farmers, which focuses on sustainably sourced food and innovative cocktails with proprietary liquors, will open in the fall to serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend buffet brunch. Also at the location will be its First Bake Cafe and Creamery, a counter offering baked goods and ice cream, according to representatives from the town center.

California-based Habit Burger will open its first Pennsylvania location in the town center this fall, to go with a Cherry Hill spot opening around the same time. MiDiCi Neapolitan Pizza and Choolaah Indian BBQ are also close to opening in the town center.

Plymouth Meeting Mall

24 National Retailers Entering The Philly Market In 2017
Plymouth Meeting Mall

Legoland opened its first entertainment center in the Philadelphia region at the Plymouth Meeting Mall, one of the second-tier malls hit hard by changing retail trends, in April, according to CBRE. Attractions such as this are one way that malls are looking to remain relevant, like the under-construction American Dream Mall in Northern New Jersey.

American Dream is betting big on the attractions to bring customers to its planned 500 shops, and when it opens (current projections for the oft-delayed megaproject peg 2018), it will have the nation’s first indoor ski slope, a water park and an amusement park. The Plymouth Meeting Mall does not have its sights set nearly as high, but if Legoland moves the needle, the mall could become another potential landing spot for retailers eyeing the Philly region.