Concerns surround Esplanade Mall's future - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Concerns surround Esplanade Mall's future

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KENNER, LA (WVUE) -

More stores could soon make an exit from Esplanade Mall in Kenner. Since Christmas, eight businesses have left and two more will soon follow.

According to our partners at City Business, Aeropostale and Love Culture plan to close at the end of the year.

Aeropostale plans to close 175 locations in U.S. over the next several years, which will bring its total storefront count down to around 750. Last year it shut down 29 stores.

Love Culture, whose store at The Esplanade was its flagship location, filed for bankruptcy last month. Reports indicate that the New Jersey-based retailer owes Simon Property Group $2 million for store leases.

The economic health of The Esplanade is one of the most important issues for Kenner, city officials say. Sales taxes are the top revenue generator for the city, accounting for $31.7 million or 44 percent of Kenner's total gross income in 2013.

The city's budget for 2014-2015 calls for a 1 percent increase in sales tax revenue, but notes collections "have been fluctuating up and down on a monthly basis.

Kate Wendel, general manager at The Esplanade, has released this statement:

"While we have seen some of our retailers close their doors this year, The Esplanade has also experienced growth.The opening of the Grand Theatre in December was a very exciting time for the mall, and while we cannot share specific numbers, we have enjoyed seeing an increase in foot traffic as families and friends come to the mall to see a movie. In addition, Niko's Pizzeria recently opened up in our Food Court, and Aby Gaby, owned by longtime Kenner residents, has expanded their business within the mall. The best way to encourage new retailers to open their doors in The Esplanade is to continue to support the more than 80 specialty retailers that are already in business in the shopping center. We are fully committed to supporting the City of Kenner as it continues to strengthen and grow, and are pleased to have the city's support as The Esplanade does the same."

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