Just a few weeks ago, shoppers walking down a corridor of the Glendale Galleria might have noticed a decidedly downscale store that sold sports caps.

Today, the same space is home to Lush, a trendy British beauty boutique that's new to the United States. Another addition, Michael Kors, is opening at the end of the month. And more tony retailers may be coming.

There will be a lot of changes occurring at the Glendale Galleria and for good reason: The traditional sprawling indoor mall faces mighty competition from the new Americana at Brand, the shopping-entertainment-residential complex right next to it.

As the staid fixture reacts to the brash newcomer, General Growth Properties Inc., the Galleria's owner, will have both challenges and opportunities.
One challenge will be to avoid losing customers to the glamour and glitz of the Americana. But its opportunity will be to showcase itself to the big audience drawn by the Americana spectacle.

Indeed, some believe that Caruso Affiliated Holdings LLC's Americana may provide just the boost the Galleria needs.

"Americana at Brand could be good for the Glendale Galleria," said Steven Burt with the Bedford Group, an L.A.-based urban developer about to launch a mixed-use project in Baldwin Hills. "Examples of symbiosis between adjacent retail developments that feed off the collective consumer traffic are numerous."
The Galleria's current strategy is similar to Americana's: Both aim to bring one-of-a-kind, luxury retailers to Glendale.

"Our focus is finding, keeping and bringing to the shopping center retailers that cannot be found anywhere else whether it's the first in the world or in California, and that's what drives people here," said Janet LaFevre, the Galleria's senior marketing director. The Galleria's previous firsts were the Disney Store and the Apple Store.

"We are talking with retailers who are interested in entering the California market for the very first time," LaFevre said. "We have some around the corner to announce."

Also in the works for the Galleria: Plans to create a bigger shopping hub for Generation Y, according to LaFevre.

Powerhouse property

Brandi Halls, Lush's U.S. public relations manager, said the mall was a prime choice for one of the retailer's rare outposts.

Lush sells soaps, lotions and shampoos piled high on wooden tables and tubs. The chain has only a handful of stores in California and saw an opportunity at the Galleria.


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