Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Village Mall Readies for Santa South Hills Shopping Center Rushes to Put Finishing Touches on Multimillion-Dollar Renovation

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Village Mall Readies for Santa South Hills Shopping Center Rushes to Put Finishing Touches on Multimillion-Dollar Renovation

Article excerpt

Construction crews that still have parts of the South Hills Village mall torn apart - there's an area of the food court blocked off that looks as if it could fit a small ice rink, while elsewhere two new sets of escalators aren't working yet - may be feeling some pressure.

"The escalator in this court must be completed by Nov. 1," said Jennifer Carroll, director of marketing and business development for the 1.1 million-square-foot mall owned by Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group.

"Santa is on his way," she explained Thursday to a group of media representatives brought in to show off changes made at the two- level shopping center that straddles the Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair township lines.

The nation's retailers are heading into that critical time of year when as much as 20 percent of shopping gets done. An industry group Thursday released survey results that found 35 percent of consumers plan to start holiday shopping by the end of October, while 86 percent will be at some version of a cash register by Thanksgiving weekend.

"Consumers seem to be interested in getting out to stores early this season," said Jesse Tron, a spokesperson for the New York- based International Council of Shopping Centers, in an announcement of the survey results.

The South Hills Village renovation, a multimillion-dollar overhaul begun in April, is just an obvious example of the intense pre-season efforts going on at retail operations around the country.

There's a lot still to be done at the South Hills mall, but Ms. Carroll is confident the renovation will be done by the end of the year, except for a few finishing touches and a few new tenants who won't be ready until early 2015.

Openings scheduled in the next few weeks include ones for Sweet & Sassy, a children's beauty and makeover salon selling birthday party packages; lingerie retailer Soma; and eyebrow boutique Brow Art 23. All are set to be ready for shoppers in November.

Clothing chain Eddie Bauer should be ready by December, catching at least some of the holiday traffic.

Already, this year South Hills Village has added several other retailers, including Primadonna, Ulta, Forever 21, Destination Maternity, Lane Bryant, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Color Me Mine and Oil & Vinegar. …

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