SAN JOSE — A shoe store company that’s in expansion mode has leased a large commercial space south of downtown San Jose in a deal that suggests some retailers can thrive despite an array of economic uncertainties.
WSS, a shoe store chain, has leased a former Smart & Final store at 2152 Monterey Road in San Jose, across the street from The Plant retail and restaurant complex.
Los Angeles-based WSS has leased the entire building, which totals about 13,300 square feet, according to David Taxin, a partner with Meacham/Oppenheimer, a commercial real estate firm who arranged the rental deal.
“This is their first San Jose store,” Taxin said.
Beyond the company’s expansion into San Jose, the deal, in Taxin’s view, runs counter to the notion that brick-and-mortar retailers are in permanent decline because of the rise of online shopping and the onset of the coronavirus.
“People are talking about the death of retail, but here is a retailer who is a little more bullish on the market than some have been,” Taxin said.
WSS has concentrated its store locations primarily in ordinary neighborhoods, according to a company mission statement posted on the retailer’s website.
“Business, like life, is about choices,” WSS said in the site post. “It was a choice to stay urban and focus primarily in working-class, underserved communities.”
The lease in San Jose was completed around the same time that Foot Locker was in the final stages of completing a purchase of WSS, a deal that was concluded in September 2021.
WSS will remain a separate brand of Foot Locker, the new owner has stated.
Taxin said the new leasing deal by WSS in San Jose is larger in square footage than the typical retail rental transaction and also completely fills up a space that had been empty for about a year when Smart & Final closed its doors at that location.
WSS should be opening its new shoe store sometime in the next one to two months.
“The collapse of retail is overstated,” Taxin said. “I tried to park in the mall yesterday and couldn’t find a place to park.”
What’s more, Taxin believes a growing number of retailers are seeking new leasing deals.
“We are getting calls for space from national retailers,” Taxin said. “Some folks in retail think good things are happening. The pandemic didn’t help. But if the coronavirus can’t kill off brick-and-mortar retail, I don’t know what can.”
WSS logo on the front of a new store in Houston for the shoe retailer, July 2020. ( WSS Facebook page )
Source:: The Mercury News – Latest News
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