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Meet the Century 21 Store of the Future

Century 21 WithMe Macerich

Discount department store Century 21 will make its West Coast debut this week—with a twist.

The New York-based retailer, known for selling designer duds at deeply discounted prices, will start a six-week run Thursday at the Macerich-owned Santa Monica Place in California. It’s also the first-ever inline mall location of WithMe, a technology company that blends digital and physical touchpoints to allow shoppers to browse and touch goods in-store while easily ordering related products or out-of-stock items for home delivery.

“Macerich is always focused on bringing the best new retail concepts to our portfolio of trophy properties in top U.S. gateway markets,” Eric Salo, executive vice president and chief strategy officer at Macerich, said in a statement. “With its incredible technology that creates personalized, online and offline shopping experiences, plus an ever-changing array of brand activations, WithMe will be a signature draw for our mall shoppers.”

The nearly 8,000-square-foot, two-level store will feature a floor-to-ceiling “smart” display made from 900 individual screens that move independently to form shelves and hanging racks, while glass-top digital displays and interactive fixtures offer product highlights and video content about brands. Guests can also shop an “endless aisle” by scanning items to find more options as well as request items to try on, build a cart and check out.

The interactive experience carries into the fitting rooms, where mirror displays allow customers to make purchases or request alternate products without leaving their rooms, while RFID tags on all products mean that shoppers have information at their fingertips.

Not to mention, several delivery options are available to shoppers. According to a press release, they can take their merchandise home with them at the time of purchase; receive same-day delivery to their homes, offices or hotels; or delivery to the location of their choice with two days.

“We were looking to expand into premier shopping centers that consumers know and love, and where traditional and pure-play brands want to be, in the country’s best market,” Jonathan Jenkins, founder and chief executive officer of WithMe, said. “We’re also tremendously excited to be working with a retail icon like Century 21 for our launch at Santa Monica Place. Our technology provides the perfect platform for this legendary brand to expand into new markets and create experiences their customers will love.”

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Raymond Gindi, co-CEO of Century 21, said, “The essence of our business is in delivering designer brands at amazing prices and the revolutionary WithMe retail concept will change the way our guests interact with our curated selection of designer merchandise. This venture to the West Coast is not only historic for our company from a location stand-point, but it’s part of a macro retail strategy we’re employing of creating more interactive retail experiences for our shoppers.”

Expect to see more of WithMe in Macerich properties in the near future. The two already have plans in the works to expand the concept, in both large and small common-area formats, in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington, D.C.