If you’ve been to Gateway Plaza in Patchogue recently, you’ve seen exterior building remodeling going on at the shopping center on Sunrise Highway.
So, what’s up?
For one thing, off-price department store Burlington and furniture seller Ashley HomeStore are headed to Gateway Plaza, at 499 Sunrise Hwy., where they will split a 51,537-square-foot space that was formerly occupied by a Bob’s Stores.
(Bob's Stores, a discount clothing and shoe store, vacated Gateway Plaza in January after what might have been the longest store-closing process in the history of store closings. It took more than a year for Bob to finally wrap it up.)
Anyway, the new Burlington, which is set to open in the spring, will be a relocation of a store 2.4 miles away at 199 E. Main St. in Patchogue, the retailer said.
"We … are excited to continue offering area residents great values and fantastic bargains on merchandise for the entire family and home," said Burlington Stores Inc., which is based in Burlington, New Jersey.
The new Burlington in Patchogue will occupy about 22,925 square feet, according to plans Gateway Plaza's owner, Pergament Properties, submitted to the town of Brookhaven for approval to subdivide the former Bob's Stores space and renovate the shopping center's facade, said Jack Krieger, spokesman for the town.
Pergament, which is based in Woodbury, did not respond to requests for comment.
When Burlington relocates a store, it looks "to provide job opportunities to the associates in the existing location for the new location," said a company representative, who said the retailer employs 75 to 100 workers in the existing Patchogue store.
Burlington had 739 stores in 45 states and Puerto Rico, including eight on Long Island, as of Aug. 1.
Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., which is based in Arcadia, Wisconsin, owns the name Ashley HomeStore, but all the furniture stores are independently owned and operated.
The Patchogue store will be operated by Factory Direct Enterprise LLC, an Ashley licensee headquartered in Fernwood, New Jersey, a company spokeswoman said.
The new, 24,192-square-foot store will employ 20 people and is projected to open Feb. 8, she said.
Factory Direct Enterprise owns 19 Ashley full-price and outlet stores in New Jersey and New York, including seven on Long Island.
"We are honored to bring Ashley HomeStore to Patchogue. The new store allows us to be closer to our customers and provide a world-class experience to our guests," Eugene Chrinian, Factory Direct’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Gateway Plaza is a 350,000-square-foot shopping center whose existing tenants include Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ulta, Michael’s and sister stores Marshalls and HomeGoods.
The Burlington store on East Main Street opened in 1994, said real estate agent Doug Weinstein, of Ripco Real Estate LLC, who represents the building’s landlord, East Main Street Associates LLC.
The two-level, 55,000-square-foot store has performed well in that location, he said.
Burlington did not respond to an inquiry about why the Patchogue store will be moving. But the 48-year-old company is downsizing its presence in Patchogue with its relocation, as the retailer continues the process, begun a few years ago, of scaling back store size nationwide.
"In order to improve the customer shopping experience and increase store productivity, the company increased the pace of remodel activity, as well as the relocation and closure of older, larger-square-footage stores," Burlington says in its investors’ information online.
Last week, I wrote about Burlington’s plan to shrink its 20-year-old store at Stewart Plaza in Garden City by 27% to 64,000 square feet.
Burlington's average new store in fiscal 2020 will be 39,700 square feet, which is the first time the average will be smaller than 40,000 square feet, John Crimmins, Burlington’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said during a second-quarter earnings call in August.
Burlington plans to open 62 new stores and close or relocate 26 stores in fiscal 2020, resulting in a net of 36 new stores expected to be opened in fiscal 2020, Crimmins said.
Having smaller stores increases efficiency for Burlington, which has long had stores that are larger than those of off-price competitors Ross, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, said Zain Akbari, an equity analyst who covers retail for Morningstar Research Services in Chicago.
"Consequently … their sales per square foot is lower, so their rent cost is inefficient, with follow-on effects on labor (from the need to staff a bigger store), maintenance, efficiency of stocking/restocking, etc.," he said.
Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at firstname.lastname@example.org.