More than 164 stores are located throughout the Roosevelt Field Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in Garden City, New York. The mall is located in the economic heart of the Islands. The Center lurches over in agony when Nassau and Suffolk Counties suffer a stomach ache from an increase in unemployment or a serious cold from prolonged bad weather.
A similar situation took place three years ago when many of the Island's electronics and defense companies struggled through their worst decline, and more recently, when the bad weather and layoffs continued throughout February. In both cases, the 21yearoldcenter suffered clear blows—it saw dropping numbers of shoppers and sales by substantial amounts, but rallied when both situations were rectified.
The center achieved an increase in sales of 17 percent over 1975 when unemployment in the two counties fell last year. This was above the national sales average for the holiday.
Arthur Turner, general manager of Pembrook Management, managing agents for the Center, said, “Our center is a good pulse of the Island. We always have a full house—and when we have a vacancy, it doesn't last very long.” Corporation Property Investors, the center's owner, is Pembrook's parent company.
In addition to Macy's second largest store (450,000 square feet) after it's Herald Square offering, the Roosevelt Field mall also contains Gimbels, Alexander's and J.C. Penney department stores (each about 250,000 square feet), and around 160 smaller stores.
The retail complex has the largest and most diverse shopping options on the Island, linked by its own oversize 11,000-car parking garage. They are available at two-thirds the price of pricey retail stores downtown Garden City has to offer, such as Sak's Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Lord and Taylor and B. Altman & Co. Added to this are smaller but still substantial centers such as the MidIsland in Hicksville, the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa, the Walt Whitman in Huntington, and the Smith Haven in Brookhaven.
Even though it is close to Hempstead, one of the most prominent shopping hubs in Nassau County, the retailing decline in Nassau County would be impossible without its pull. The nation's second-largest suburban store, Abraham & Straus' 500,000square-foot Hempstead branch, has been experiencing declining sales of late, according to industry observers, often citing Roosevelt Field's inroads. Such speculation may be valid considering Hempstead's deteriorating corearea, evident through the closing of many stores.
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