Contemplating a major jump outside its traditional market area, Hecht's is negotiating with a shopping center developer to build a department store near Fredericksburg.
The shopping center Hech't is eyeing is Spotsylvania Mall, a conplex being built at the intersection of 1-95 and Virginia Route 3 west of Fredericksburg and more than 40 miles south of the Capitol Beltway. A Fredericksburg mall store would mark the first move out of the Washington-Baltimore market for Hecht's.
Hecht's interest in the site was confirmed yesterday by Dean Wolf, vice president for department store real estate of the May Department Stores Co. of St. Louis, the parent of Hecht's.
"We're doing a lot of legwork and analysis," said Wolfe, but Hecht's has not signed a lease with the mall's developers, the Cafaro Companies of Youngstown, Ohio.
Wolfe said May Co. officials are talking with Cafaro "to see whether there is any practical way for us to fit a store in" the Fredericksburg mail.
Wolfe said the decision to consider extending the perimeter of Hecht's traditional market reflects a department store industry migration into "middle markets. . .If you look at the trend across the country, wou'll see it is the wave of the future," he said.
By building smaller stores then teir suburban units, a number of department store chains have expanded outside their usual markets, which often are defined by the circulation patterns of newspapers, Wolfe explained.
Hecht's 20 stores are snuggled around the Baltimore and Washington beltways.
Moving to Fredericksburg would open a new wave of growth for Hecht's, which is completing an $80 million multi-store expansion. Hecht's opened a store at Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg last fall and plans to open a 155,000-square-foot unit at Security Square in Baltimore next month.
A 141,000-square-foot store is scheduled to open in Annapolis in October or November, to be followed by a 160,000-square-foot store in the Fair Oakes Mall in Fairfax County in the fall of 1980.