Stories produced by students in the Meek School of Journalism & New Media
Southaven’s proposed Tanger Outlet mall is set to open in November, adding more than 75 retail outlet stores, an hour away from Oxford.
Kathy Wachter, an Ole Miss professor and expert in retail marketing, says that the outlet has plenty of potential customers.
“Memphis gets about 9 million visitors per year and the Southaven outlets are only going to be about 4.5 miles from Memphis,” says Wachter. “Generally outlet centers draw from a 25 to 75 mile radius, which puts Oxford in that potential draw.”
So, what will these factory outlet stores mean for the Oxford-Lafayette community? According to the 2014 National Retail Federation, Oxford currently possesses three of the country’s top five major retail providers including Wal-Mart, Kroger and The Home Depot.
While Oxford does have a few of the nation’s top retail corporations, Wachter says residents often look for more retail options in larger cities to fulfill their shopping needs. She believes people from Oxford will want to check out the new outlet mall.
“I was excited to learn that a Tanger outlet was coming so close to Oxford,”says Oxford resident Emily Hall. “The nearest Tanger outlet is in Florence, Ala., which is a good two and a half hours from Oxford. When I’m not shopping on the Square, I typically go to Tupelo, but the new mall is going to offer a higher-end shopping experience for the area, which I’m excited about.”
Mary Allyn, director of the Oxford visitor center on the Square, thinks the region could benefit from the mall. .
“I think Tanger Outlet is an added bonus and nice stop for visitors coming from the Memphis area,”says Allyn. “The Outlet is something that North Mississippi has not had and will be a nice addition for the entire Northern part of Mississippi.”
There seems to be little concern that Oxford businesses will suffer. “I will definitely still shop in Oxford. The Square has such unique things and is conveniently closer,” says Kelly Major.
Wachter believes Oxford residents will continue to appreciate the local shopping atmosphere Oxford provides in order to save time and gas money.
“People generally will want to go see what it’s all about,”says Wachter in regards to the mall. “It will just be another option that people have, so competition isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just gives people more choices in terms of where they’d like to go.”