Changes afoot at Vancouver Plaza

Burlington Coat Factory moving in; Bed, Bath & Beyond, to relocate within shopping center

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Burlington Coat Factory is coming to Clark County, spurring a flurry of changes at the Vancouver Plaza shopping center.

The big-box discount retailer will be moving into space that Bed Bath & Beyond has occupied since the 1990s, said Joe Bell, spokesman for the Ohio-based property management company that owns Vancouver Plaza. To make way for Burlington Coat Factory, Bed Bath & Beyond will move temporarily into a much smaller storefront.

Bell said the shuffle reflects an improving national retail market, and also reflects growing demand at Vancouver Plaza since a Walmart Neighborhood Market opened there a year ago.

Bell says Burlington hopes to complete the move and open its doors by this fall.”

Vancouver Plaza is owned by Cafaro Co. of Youngstown, Ohio, which owns three other Pacific Northwest shopping centers — in Olympia, Puyallup and Tigard, Ore. — as well as retail projects in eight East Coast and Midwest states.

“During the Great Recession, there was a downturn across America, as a lot of retailers folded up operations,” Bell said. “We had a higher vacancy rate, but that has rebounded quite nicely. With the addition of the Walmart Neighborhood Market, the Vancouver Plaza shopping center is stronger than it has been for a long time. It’s vibrant.”

Nonetheless, some vacant storefronts do remain at Vancouver Plaza — and without them, the challenge of making way for Burlington Coat Factory would be a tough one to solve.

“Burlington stores are very large, and the best available space is the one Bed Bath and Beyond is occupying,” Bell said. “Bed Bath & Beyond’s lease is coming to an end, so it made logical sense to talk to them about moving to another space within the plaza.”

Bed Bath & Beyond will temporarily move from its 40,000-square-foot location into the much smaller 8,800-square-foot former Fashion Bug store. They’ll be cramped temporarily, but Cafaro Co. expects to remodel existing spaces within the plaza so that Bed Bath & Beyond has much more room before the holiday shopping season arrives, Bell said.

Bell said that the store may have to close for a day or two as it moves inventory across the parking lot — but it may be able to accomplish the moves overnight without closing down at all. He declined to provide information about lease negotiations, or to comment on financial considerations that could be affecting Bed Bath & Beyond ‘s or Burlington Coat Factory’s leasing terms.

Clark County residents who shop in Oregon may be familiar with Burlington Coat Factory, which has a store at Jantzen Beach. The New Jersey-based chain competes with other discounters such as TJ Maxx and Marshalls. With more than 500 stores operating nationwide, the company reported a 7.2 percent increase in net sales in 2013. It is scheduled to release its first-quarter 2014 financial details Tuesday.

Bed Bath & Beyond, which has been at Vancouver Plaza since 1999, operates two other Clark County stores: one at 9306 N.E. Fifth Ave., and one at 16701 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd. Its net sales were up 5.4 percent in its most recent fiscal year, which ended March 1.