CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston Town Center officials have signed new deals to welcome three new retailers to the downtown shopping mall.
Mall marketing director Lisa McCracken said Friday construction is under way on the new Express, Zumiez and Teavana stores.
All three new stores are expected to open in the first half of 2013, timed to coincide with the mall's 30th anniversary celebration this year.
Express, which sells clothing and merchandise targeted at the 20- to 30-year-old demographic, is no stranger to mall customers.
The store occupied various locations throughout the mall between 1985 and 2006.
However, in 2006, Express corporate owner Limited Brands decided not to renew the store's lease with the mall as part of a corporate decision to downsize their retail operations.
Limited sold off the Express brand to a private equity firm in 2007. In 2010, the investors took the company public in a $272 million initial public offering.
Headquartered in New York and Columbus, Ohio, the Express continues to stand alone as its own corporate entity.
McCracken said when retailer Abercrombie & Fitch made the decision last year to close its only West Virginia store, Express seemed like a natural fit to take its place.
"They've had a history at the Charleston Town Center in the past 29 years, but this will be a brand new, beautiful Express retail store," she said. "Everybody will be happy to hear that, because we all love to shop at Express."
In addition to taking over the Abercrombie & Fitch space, Express also plans to expand into the second-story location once occupied by the Lids hat store. The expansion will give the new store more than 8,200 square feet of retail space.
In turn, Lids will move across the center court overlook to the 1,400 square foot store once occupied by the Journey's Kidz store.
The move to the new location will nearly double Lids' retail space, something McCracken said is a good because the store has been performing well in recent years.
"The Lids store will be much bigger and have much more inventory," she said. "And they've just signed and renewed a 10-year lease for this new expanded space."
Zumiez is also currently under construction in the space once occupied by the 5-7-9 store.
The Seattle-based board store specializes in marketing "cutting edge clothing, footwear, accessories, DVDs, hard goods for skate and snow for active lifestyles," according to the company's website.