Hecht's will open a 141,000-square-foot facility at the new Annapolis Mall today, its second opening in the last three months.
The total number of Hecht's department stores in the region remains at 20, however, because the company has closed a smaller Annapolis store.
The new branch will cater especially to an Annapolis-area clientele that has a considerable interest in outdoor activity and the pleasure of the Chesapeake Bay.
Allan J. Bloostein, Hecht's president, explained that the store's contemporary design is part of Hecht's attempt to better "position" itself in the competitive retail market of the region.
The store prominently displays designer merchandise, while at the same time emphasizing the location of the company's budget store.
"We're positioning ourselves properly as to what the customer has been signaling," Bloosetin said in an interview. "We have a broad merchandise content, starting at the budget store and moving up to designers."
Bloostein said he is "cautiously optimistic" about the area's retail business in general because of what he terms an "underlying strength" in the Washington-Baltimore market, the nation's fourth largest.
In a related development, Commerce Department figures for the metropolitan Washington area indicate that department store sales are increasing at a rate that exceeds over-all retail sales expansion here.
During August of this year, all retail sales were reported to be about $1.17 billion, an increase of 6 percent over August 1978. But department store sales in the Washington area jumped by 12 percent in August, when compared with August 1978 totaling about $7.6 million.
Moreover, during the first eight months of 1979, sales at department stores in downtown Washington jumped by 9 percent compared with an 8 percent rise for the metropolitan area. Retailers have attributed increased sales downtown to the expanding subway system.