In the Know: What's up with Books-A-Million closing at Mercato?

TIM ATEN
Books-A-Million in Mercato is closing next month to make way for Nordstrom Rack, expected to open there this fall. Photo by Tim Aten

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Books-A-Million in Mercato is closing next month to make way for Nordstrom Rack, expected to open there this fall. Photo by Tim Aten

Books-A-Million in Mercato is closing next month to make way for Nordstrom Rack, expected to open there this fall.

Photo by TIM ATEN // Buy this photo

Books-A-Million in Mercato is closing next month to make way for Nordstrom Rack, expected to open there this fall.

Q: Just heard yesterday evening from my daughter who works there that the Books-A-Million at Mercato is closing in February. What's up with that? They supposedly signed a new lease through 2019 and word is Nordstrom did something to get the location. Hate to see the place go. I enjoyed shopping there, too. Can you find out exactly what happened? Thank you.

— Joyce A. Brower, Naples

A: Some of the details have yet to be worked out or revealed, but Books-A-Million is closing at Mercato and has plans to reopen elsewhere in Naples. Effective this fall, the two-story location now occupied by the bookstore will be a Nordstrom Rack store, a retail outlet with designer clothing and accessories 50 to 60 percent off original Nordstrom prices.

"Books-A-Million is actively looking to relocate in Naples and we hope to find that location in the very near future," said Jeff Skipper, vice president of marketing for Books-A-Million, based in Birmingham, Ala.

Management of the shopping center, its Madison Marquette leasing partner, or Books-A-Million would not provide many details about the business transaction, but it is a done deal.

"Books-A-Million's last day of business at the Mercato is Feb. 16 and we hope to find a new space soon so that we can continue to serve the Naples community for many years to come," said Jane Hoerner, a spokeswoman for Books-A-Million Inc.

The bookstore also will sell its current merchandise in another temporarily location in Mercato, said Valerie Cope, director of marketing for the shopping center, but Books-A-Million did not confirm this information.

When it opened in Oct. 31, 2008, the Books-A-Million superstore was one of the first stores in Mercato. Its 26,000-square-foot space also makes it one of the largest in the mixed-use center in North Naples. Only spaces occupied by Whole Foods Market and Silverspot Cinema are larger than the bookstore's retail space.

The closing of Books-A-Million and its Joe Muggs Café will be the second location in the Naples area to close in less than a year. The BAM location in Naples Plaza permanently closed in April and is now home to West Marine.

The new Nordstrom Rack in Mercato will be the ninth in Florida. A target date has not been set, but the new store is expected to open some time in the fall, Cope said.

When Madison Marquette acquired interest in Mercato in July 2011, the company's investment director said their primary focus would be on "leasing the remaining available space and perfecting the merchandising mix to best serve the local community." Perhaps, Nordstrom Rack is considered a better fit to anchor the upscale development.

"We are extremely proud of our Madison Marquette Florida Leasing Team and the addition of this leading fashion retailer to Mercato," said Chuck Taylor, senior vice president of leasing for Madison Marquette Realty Services, in a news release.

"Nordstrom Rack will attract a variety of brand-conscious, fashion-forward customers and is a perfect fit for the surrounding area's demographics."

Nordstrom operates 240 stores in 31 states, including 117 full-line stores and 119 Nordstrom Racks. The company has nine regular Nordstrom stores in Florida, as well, including one at Waterside Shops in Naples.

"We're fortunate to have lots of customers living in South Florida and hope this new store will make it more convenient for our Naples customers to shop both our full-line and Rack locations," said Geevy Thomas, president of Nordstrom Rack, in a news release.

In July, when a reader asked this column whether a Nordstrom Rack would open in Southwest Florida, a spokeswoman said the company did not have plans to open a store here. At that time, an interactive feature for future store openings on the company's website did not show a new Nordstrom Rack store planned for Florida through 2014.

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Have a local question? Email it with your name and city of residence to intheknow@naplesnews.com.

"In the Know" is published Mondays and Wednesdays in the Naples Daily News. Find a complete archive of "In the Know" columns at naplesnews.com/intheknow.

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