Shopping Centers Today International

APR 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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Page 39 of 63

tailer's leasing manager. Though A'gaci, whose customers are young — between 18 and 34 — and whose items sell for less than $50 a piece, is often put in the fast-fashion category, Won stresses that its merchandise is of high quality. "Our customer loves fashion, but won't nec- essarily jump into it because it's trendy. Fast-fashion stores focus on fast fashion, not on their customers. We focus on our customers that we have nurtured for over 40 years." Generally, A'gaci customers buy three to four items per trip, spending between $55 and $70 each time. The merchandise carries the A'gaci label and is designed and manufactured exclu- sively for the retailer. More than half of it is manufactured in the U.S., and goes from drawing board to shelves in two to three weeks, Won said. The brothers felt compelled to ex- pand in order to compete with the likes of Forever 21 and American Eagle, as well as mom-and-pops with a similar budget-fashion concept. A'gaci was one of a handful of U.S. retailers that man- aged to grow during the global financial crisis, securing space in key regional malls. For this year 21 stores are sched- uled to open, of which two will be in Puerto Rico — in Plaza Las Américas and Plaza del Caribe. The bulk of this year's new openings will be in California, Florida and Texas — the company's core markets. A'gaci will be entering two new markets as well: Tucson, Ariz., and Las Vegas. The goal is to have an overall store count of about 140 by 2018. A'gaci is also investing nearly $10 million in a 283,800-square- foot warehouse and distribution center in San Antonio that is on track to be op- erational by summer of next year. The owners prefer to keep control, so all the stores are corporate-owned except for one franchised store that opened last year in Libertador, Ven- ezuela, at Centro Comercial Parque Los Aviadores. Won notes that the com- pany is debt-free, choosing to finance its own expansion. He declines to disclose the chain's annual sales. As for Latin America, the company wants to have 60 stores within Mexico in five years, and is also scouting oppor- tunities also in South America. "A'gaci's potential in Latin America is huge," said Jorge Lizán, managing di- rector of Lizán Retail, a New York City– based consulting firm working with A'gaci in its global expansion. "They can offer Latin American women some- thing that very few, such as H&M and Forever 21, offer so far: great fashion at an affordable price." S C T 40 S C T / A p r i l 2 0 1 6 r e T a i l i n g T o d a y Retail • Multi-family • Of ce • Industrial Land • Commercial Development • Hospitality RE/MAX Commercial Practitioners are part of an industry-leading network of over 100,000 associates worldwide. The opportunity to exchange referrals with top-producing residential agents is available to you the day you join. That's huge. FIND YOURSELF AT RE/MAX ©2016 RE/MAX, LLC. Each RE/MAX® of ce is independently owned and operated. 16_82382

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