Alaska shoppers poured into Tikahtnu Commons as Target Corp. opened

Alaska shoppers poured into Tikahtnu Commons as Target Corp. opened the doors of its new Anchorage store on Oct. 9. The opening wildly exceeded Target’s expectations, setting an opening day sales record. In contrast, U.S. government figures show national retail sales were down 1.2 percent in September. The 176,000-square-foot store is one of the large retail chains anchoring CIRI and partner Browman Development Co.’s Northeast Anchorage retail and entertainment center, Tikahtnu Commons.

“This outstanding opening demonstrates the significant retail demand that still exists in our underserved Alaska market,” said Greg Jones, CIRI vice president of business development. “New-to-Alaska stores in particular can reduce retail leakage and generate more in-state jobs.”

Retail leakage is an industry term referring to the sales lost to catalog, Internet and out-of-state shopping.

The new Target store features heated sidewalks and covered canopies. Alaskans driving on the Glenn Highway near Muldoon Road in the past couple months will have seen Target’s red bull’s-eye logo on the tower of the store’s southeast corner.

“It took a significant commitment on Target’s part to expand into the Alaska market,” said Jones. “They had to develop a cost-effective method of supplying stores that are days, not hours, away from their distribution centers.”

Target stores in the Lower 48 utilize distribution centers operating 24 hours a day that are no more than a day’s truck drive from every store. The Alaska stores are experimenting with a different supply logistics model, using their extra 50,000 square feet of warehouse space to stock inventory a week to 10 days out.

Development at the rest of Tikahtnu Commons continues. Lowe’s, Kohl’s Department Store, BestBuy and Sports Authority will open their retail stores in early 2009. CIRI and Browman are finalizing a deal with Regal Entertainment Group to build a new 17-screen theater complex, including Alaska’s first IMAX theater. CIRI and Browman are considering adding a hotel to the retail center as well.

CIRI and Browman are currently leasing out 37,000 square feet of small store space, and 50 to 60 more small shops, restaurants and other businesses will be added as Tikahtnu Commons develops. Subway, GCI, Game Stop, GNC, AT&T, Marble Slab Ice Cream, Great Clips, Fruitland Fresh and Sally Beauty Supply have all signed on to Tikahtnu Commons.