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Retail Roundup: Five Below plans 4 new LI stores; Ulta to open new locations

The discount retailer has locations planned in Shirley, Freeport, Hemptead and Commack. And Ulta Beauty will be opening stores in Shirley and Bridgehampton.

The Five Below store in Westbury.

The Five Below store in Westbury.

Five Below’s cheap cellphone chargers, sparkly pillows and oversized headphones will be available at more places on Long Island this year.

I recently wrote that the discount retailer, which targets kids and teens with accessories, gadgets and bedroom decor priced at $5 or less, was planning to open stores in Commack and Shirley in 2019.  

But now we know two more stores are also planned for Long Island — in Freeport and Hempstead — this year.

Also, cosmetics chain Ulta Beauty is expanding locally. But more about that later.

Five Below already has nine stores on Long Island, and here is the rundown on the four additional stores planned for the area this year:

  • Shirley: A 9,600-square-foot Five Below will open in March in the South Port Shopping Center at 999 Montauk Hwy., said Ken Simon, vice president of New Jersey-based Heidenberg Properties Group, which manages the center. The store will replace a Famous Footwear that moved to combined space vacated by Toys R Us and Verizon, the latter of which relocated in the shopping center in October.  
  • Freeport: A Five Below will open this summer in Meadowbrook Commons on East Sunrise Highway and Buffalo Avenue, said Jennifer Maisch, spokeswoman for Kimco Realty Corp., the New Hyde Park-based owner of the shopping center. The 8,037-square-foot store will take over space that had been occupied by Rainbow, a discount women’s clothing store that left in December, she said.  
  • Hempstead: A 8,660-square-foot store will open in The Hub shopping center on Fulton Avenue this summer.
  • Commack: A Five Below will open in the fall in 11,525 square feet in Veterans Memorial Plaza, which also is owned by Kimco. The space was part of a former 63,000-square-foot Toys R Us/Babies R Us that was at 108 Veterans Memorial Hwy. in the shopping center.

Five Below Inc., founded in 2002 in Philadelphia,  is experiencing fast growth in store numbers and sales.

“We are always very excited to continue building new stores where we have high brand awareness and opportunity to expand our brand footprint,” said Alyssa Grugan, spokeswoman for the retailer.

Five Below plans to open 94 stores across the country this year, including the Long Island locations and two in Brooklyn, according to its website.

Over the 12-month period that ended Nov. 3, the chain opened 120 stores, a 19 percent increase, for a total of 745 stores in 33 states.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2018, the chain’s net sales increased by 21.6 percent to $312.8 million compared to $257.2 million in the same period a year earlier, and sales at stores open at least a year grew 4.8 percent.

So, what’s the deal with Five Below’s growth?

For one thing, the retailer focuses on selling treats and impulse buys, plus some essentials, while dollar stores focus on essentials first, said Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at GlobalData, a Manhattan-based market research firm.

“To a degree, this insulates it from more functional retailers like Walmart even as they sharpen prices. It also helps in driving regular traffic to stores and online,” he said.

Aside from the expected Five Below store, South Port Shopping Center also will be the site of one of Ulta Beauty’s new stores.

A cosmetics retailer with in-store salons, Ulta plans to open a store in the shopping center in Shirley in the fall and a location in Bridgehampton Commons this summer, said Olivia Mata, spokeswoman for Illinois-based Ulta Beauty Inc.

The Ulta store planned for South Port Shopping Center will be beside the Five Below, and it will occupy 10,000 square feet of combined space vacated by two stores — plus-sized women’s clothing shop Lane Bryant, which closed on Jan. 18, and Mattress Firm, which is relocating, said Simon, of Heidenberg Properties.

Around June the mattress store will relocate to a new, freestanding building that will be built at 945 Montauk Hwy. in the shopping center, he said.

“We’re improving the tenant mix at the shopping center for the benefit … of all our tenants,” said Simon, who said the 300,000-square-foot shopping center is 97 percent leased now.

Houston-based Mattress Firm Inc. did not respond to a request for comment.

The 9,000-square-foot Ulta planned for Bridgehampton Commons, which is at Montauk Highway and Snake Hollow Road, will take the over combined space vacated by American Eagle and Sunglasses Hut in 2017, Maisch said.

Ulta operates 1,163 stores nationwide, including 11 on Long Island.

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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