Simon Doubles Down on Experiential Retail

Camp location at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, one of the experiential retailer’s flagship experiences. Image courtesy of Camp

As part of a nationwide wave of growth among experiential retail, Simon Property Group is expanding its offerings, inking a deal with Camp to open two new locations at Simon shopping centers—including King of Prussia Mall. Separately, the company previously struck a deal with Netflix to open one of the steaming service’s new experiential concepts at the same King of Prussia, a Greater Philadelphia Simon property.

Beside the King of Prussia location, which will open this year, Camp and Simon also plan a new experience at the Galleria Mall in Houston, for 2025. Both spaces will exceed 10,000 square feet.

Earlier this year, Simon also inked a deal with Netflix to include a Netflix House concept in 2025 at the King of Prussia Mall. The concept was created by the streaming giant as a retail, dining and live entertainment venue. Another Netflix House location will open soon at Galleria Dallas, which is currently owned by Metropolitan Life Insurance.

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Camp currently operates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. Simon’s Burlington Mall Camp location, in the Boston market, opened in 2022. That one recently announced that Bluey x Camp, a collaboration with BBC Studios, will open later this summer.

Camp has been providing entertainment for young families since 2018, offering immersive retail experiences tied in with popular staples including The Little Mermaid, Trolls, Encanto and Bluey.

Experiential retail growing

In its Brown Book of Retailer and Restaurant Expansion 2024, Garrick Brown anticipates strong growth this year among experiential retail operations, including those set up for family amusement, such as Camp. There will be a net of more than 150 openings of family-oriented amusement at malls in 2024, the company forecasts.

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Other experiential retail growth this year is set to involve art and culture exhibits as part of museum concepts, with nearly 30 net openings in 2024, and escape rooms, which is still largely a travel-destination concept that will see nearly 20 openings this year.

The largest growth trend among experiential retail will involve “competitive socializing,” the Brown Book found, including pickleball, bocce, bowling and other activities. There will be 378 openings of this kind of experiential retail this year, according to Garrick Brown.

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