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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

WSS Shoe Store rents out large empty retail space in San Jose

SAN JOSE. The shoe chain, which is in expansion mode, has leased a large retail space south of downtown San Jose in a deal that suggests some retailers could thrive despite a series of economic uncertainties.

WSS rented a former Smart & Final store at 2152 Monterey Road in San Jose, across the street from The Plant shopping and restaurant complex.

According to David Thaksin, partner of commercial real estate firm Meacham / Oppenheimer that arranged the lease, Los Angeles-based WSS has leased the entire building, approximately 13,300 square feet.

“This is their first store in San Jose,” Thaksin said.

Aside from the company’s expansion in San Jose, the deal, Thaksin said, runs counter to the notion that mainstream retailers are in constant decline due to the rise in online shopping and the spread of the coronavirus.

“People talk about the death of retail, but the retailer is a little more optimistic about the market than some of them,” Thaksin said.

WSS has concentrated its stores primarily in conventional neighborhoods, according to a company statement posted on the retailer’s website. “Business, like life, is a choice,” WSS said in a posting on the website. “It was a choice to stay in the city and focus primarily on working-class, disadvantaged communities.”

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The San Jose lease was completed around the same time that Foot Locker was in the final stages of completing its purchase of WSS, a deal closed in September 2021.

The new owner said WSS will remain a separate Foot Locker brand.

Thaksin said the San Jose WSS lease deal is larger than a typical retail lease deal and also completely fills a space that has been vacant for about a year after Smart & Final closed its doors at the location.

WSS should open its new shoe store in the next 1-2 months.

“The retail collapse is exaggerated,” Thaksin said. “Yesterday I tried to park in a mall but couldn’t find a parking space.”

Moreover, Taxin believes that an increasing number of retailers are looking for new leasing deals.

“We are receiving requests for premises from national retailers,” Thaksin said. “Some people in retail think good things are happening. The pandemic hasn’t helped. But if the coronavirus can’t kill regular retail, I don’t know what it can. “

WSS logo on the facade of a new shoe retailer’s store in Houston, July 2020 (WSS Facebook page)

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