PALM DESERT, Calif. - The Westfield shopping center along Highway 111 in Palm Desert is expanding. The clothing store H&M opened its doors to customers for the first time Thursday afternoon to hundreds of shoppers who waited in line for hours.
"This is the best thing that's ever happened this store," said shopper Lorna Adama of Palm Desert
"Yeah, I actually think its getting better, because H&M now opened and there's now more clothes," said shopper Xinna Pineda.
"It's been one of the most requested stores that I've seen in the last 10 years," added Franchesca Forrer, Marketing Director for Westfield Palm Desert.
It's been a busy year for the shopping center, it's been undergoing a major revamp the last several months, filling many of its empty spaces, including building a brand new South Grand entrance by Barnes and Noble.
"We have Dick's Sporting Goods, we have World Gym, we have H&M opening, and in about a week or so, we're going to have Bobby Mao's Chinese Kitchen and Bar which is fantastic. And, right after that Stuffed Pizza Bar and Grill."
"We were looking for locations from a branding effect of where we could really be, and being in the front of the redevelopment of a Westfield mall gives us presence in the desert, said Bobby Grannett, Owner of Bobby Mao's Chinese Kitchen and Bar.
The opening of stores such as Dick's Sporting Goods and H&M is only a sign of more changes to come at the Palm Desert Shopping Center. According to Forrer, more improvements are expected throughout the next couple of months.
"That's just for the first phase of redevelopment for us, there are many more phases to come, there's a lot of surprises in 2014 and 2015.
The mall's recent facelift comes at a time whe experts predict about 15% of U.S. malls will fail or be converted into non-retail space within the next 10 years. Half are predicted to fail within 15 to 20 years.
Forrer says that's proving not to be the case here...
"It's cause the desert is a great place to live, I mean it really is. There are great places throughout the country, but we're non-competitive with one another. We're all supportive, because number one it creates jobs, it creates more opportunities, more shopping opportunities," said Forrer.
H&M helped create dozens of jobs, while the owner of Bobby Mao's Chinese Kitchen and Bar says they're expected to help create at least 30 positions.
"well, it's encouraging, cause when we had the job fair a lot of people came, and then from that people told other people," said owner Bobby Grannett.
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