Target, Penney Not Alone in Racking Up New Sales in New York

Last Updated Jul 21, 2009 8:05 PM EDT

Two major retail chains are opening in the shadow of New York City icons and while Target's new Bronx store in the lee of Yankee Stadium will enhance development of a once blighted community, J.C. Penney's debuting emporium in Manhattan's Herald Square hill have to fight it out with Macy's landmark Big Apple location.

Target will open as part of Gateway Center, a development on the site of the former Bronx Terminal Market right beside the Major Deegan Expressway, a major artery connecting New York with its northern suburbs and the new Yankee Stadium just blocks away. The first store in the plaza, Home Depot, opened this spring, and Target will also share the space with Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Marshalls and Toys "R" Us. Gateway Plaza will not only serve the south Bronx but northernmost Manhattan, which is just across the Harlem River and can be reached by a quick stroll or drive across the little Macombs Dam Bridge. Interestingly, the first Target in Manhattan was slated for East River Plaza, which is just on the opposite side of the bridge and a couple of miles south. Although Kmart continues to operate the first two discount stores that opened in Manhattan, Target has outstripped it â€" with Gateway Center providing its eighth New York City-wide location to Kmart's four â€" to become the dominant discount store operator in the Big Apple.

J.C. Penney has made gains in the outer boroughs as well, but it will have its work cut out for it in Herald Square, where Macy's flagship store draws shoppers from around the world. Macy's rarely lets New Yorkers and their visitors forget about its role in Gotham culture. Macy's sponsors everything from the Fourth of July fireworks to the Thanksgiving Day parade.

Still, Herald Square has been growing as a retail hub and the 153,000-square-foot J.C. Penny store, which unlocks its doors on July 31, will join other relatively new retailers in the area including H&M, adding to the area's shopper appeal.

Indeed, Manhattan has become increasingly hospitable to chain retailers. A downtown shopping district has developed in the Chelsea section built around home furnishings retailers including Bed, Bath & Beyond and Williams-Sonoma's West Elm. Even such a New York institution as Bloomingdale's â€" a chain itself in the world outside the city -- is joined on the edge of the Upper East Side by recent arrivals including The Container Store.

Now, Nordstrom Rack is preparing its first ever Manhattan location, a 32,136 square-foot store on the south side of Union Square, which is slated to debut in the spring of 2010.

Manhattanites have taken to the value proposition that chain retailers offer, purchasing everyday items at reasonable cost as an alternative to the boutique goods that have defined New York retailing in many minds. And, if not alternative, being able to purchase polo shirts and vacuums at a better price just frees up money for more indulgent purchases.