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Retail Roundup: Century 21 moving on up to Roosevelt Field

Century 21 in New Cassel, seen here before

Century 21 in New Cassel, seen here before opening time on Thursday morning, will be relocating to Roosevelt Field in Garden City in 2021.     Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Chanel and Louis Vuitton are among the posh tenants at Roosevelt Field, but they're about to get a discount neighbor.

Off-price department store Century 21 will be calling the Garden City mall home by spring 2021 — and it will be a large home.

A 20-year-old Century 21 store in New Cassel, which was the Manhattan-based retailer's first suburban location, will be relocating to a two-story, 68,000-square-foot slot in Roosevelt Field, at 630 Old Country Rd., about 4 miles away. Century 21 refers to its New Cassel store as its Westbury location.

“Century 21 Stores has been bringing incredible brands at amazing prices to savvy consumers for over five decades,” Michael Kustermann, chief marketing officer at Century 21 Stores, said in a statement. “We are excited to continue this tradition as an anchor tenant at the dynamic and bustling Roosevelt Field mall, bringing unparalleled luxury and value to its shoppers.”

The Roosevelt Field space that Century 21 will move into is currently occupied by a Bloomingdale’s Furniture, which will be consolidating and moving into the Bloomingdale’s department store in the mall, according to a statement from Roosevelt Field.

Bloomingdale’s, which is owned by Cincinnati-based Macy’s Inc., did not respond to a request for comment.

Founded in Manhattan in 1961, Century 21 is a small chain that sells high-end clothing, shoes, accessories and household goods at discounted prices. The retailer has 13 stores, located in New Jersey, Philadelphia, Florida and New York, including one other Long Island store that opened in 2015 at Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream.

When Century 21’s store opened at 1085 Old Country Rd. in New Cassel in 1999, it was the chain’s first suburban store after nearly 40 years of being a discounter in New York City.

At that time, it had only two other stores — in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The company had signed a 21-year lease for its New Cassel store.

"The lease for the Westbury store will be expiring spring of 2021, therefore, we will be relocating to Roosevelt Field," said Century 21, which added that the new store at Roosevelt Field will provide "a more convenient shopping experience to Nassau County shoppers.”

Newsday reported in 1999 that it was a calculated gamble for Century 21 to venture onto the Island. “Besides competition from an array of upscale department stores and off-price rivals, Century 21 must contend with a location far from Nassau County’s shopping hub, around Roosevelt Field and The Source malls,” Newsday reported.

Well, things have changed dramatically in 20 years. For one thing, retail activity at the mall formerly known as The Source is deader than disco except for the two restaurants and two stores in the mostly vacant property.

(Lesso Mall Development Long Island Inc., a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based China Lesso Group Holdings Ltd., which purchased the mall for $92 million in 2017, is planning a redevelopment that has been delayed.)

The new Century 21 will have the same number of employees as the New Cassel location, the retailer said.

"Century 21 currently has 169 employees at Westbury who will be able to apply for jobs at the new store at Roosevelt Field," the company said.

The chain has had a recent — and brief — presence at the mall. Century 21 Edition, a 5,000-square-foot store that sold women’s shoes, sunglasses, watches, purses and fragrances, was open in the mall from June 2018 to May.

A Century 21 Edition that opened in April 2018 at Staten Island Mall also has closed.

"Century 21 Edition locations were founded on the premise of a small concept test store. Century 21 has utilized these locations to better understand consumer brand loyalty in each individual market and as a result of this test phase, Century 21 will be opening a larger store at Roosevelt Field Mall," the retailer said. 

The 12 employees at the former Century 21 Edition in Roosevelt Field were transferred to the New Cassel store in May, the chain 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 tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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