Mona Shield Payne
Monday, March 29, 2010 | 2 a.m.
Map of Forum Shops
3500 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas
Las Vegas native Maureen Crampton has served as the marketing director of Forum Shops at Caesars since it opened in 1992 as the Strip’s first major retail destination.
The Forum Shops maintained its spot as the nation’s top-selling mall by generating sales in 2009 of about $1,400 a square foot, Crampton says. But that number was down from $1,500 a square foot in 2008.
The Strip has several malls. Has the competition hurt the Forum Shops?
The consumer does have more dining and retail options. But growth in the market, whether it’s the Palazzo or Grand Canal Shoppes or Miracle Mile, strengthens our position as a retail destination to the world. Crystals at CityCenter has so many luxury brands, I think it enhances our luxury brand mix. Several of them are duplications — Louis Vuitton, for example. Certainly it will take a share of the market, but it won’t necessarily decrease our sales because it adds hotel rooms and should bring additional tourists to the market.
Hasn’t the recession affected retail shopping, especially high-end retail?
Toward the end of 2008, everybody in Las Vegas took a hit. We were no different. And 2009 was a challenging year. We do business differently. We go more domestic. We go more regional. Las Vegas has done a good job of going more toward California and surrounding cities.
How much were sales down in 2009?
Have any retailers fared better than others during the recession?
Gucci can’t keep merchandise in its store. It was a hot ticket before this and it continues to be. It has a lot to do with brand and quality association.
If you had to pick any retailers you don’t have now, who would it be and why?
Chanel, because that’s the ultimate luxury brand. It brings a sense of prestige and quality recognized worldwide. But we are the melting pot of retail, so at the other end of the spectrum, I’d like to have H&M. It has a lot of endorsements with world-renowned designers, celebrity and affordability and will attract another customer. Another is Topshop out of the UK, which has worldwide recognition.
What is the future of retail on the Strip?
The recovery may take longer than we were anticipating, but if we adjust and accommodate and we are good businesspeople, we will come out of it stronger than ever. I’m uncertain whether the consumer is irrevocably changed because of this. We need to continue being a little bit more savvy and aggressive in doing business differently and appealing to the consumer differently. We can strengthen ourselves as businesses and do things in a different way so that the business owner, shopping center owner and the consumer all benefit.
A longer version of this interview appeared in the Las Vegas Sun’s sister publication In Business Las Vegas.