Do real men shop at lifetyle centers? Galyan's Trading Company Inc. thinks they do. In fact, the Plainfield, Ind.-based sporting goods chain is beefing up its presence in lifestyle centers. This year's expansion plans include four lifestyle anchors, in addition to three mall stores. Galyan's opened two lifestyle stores and five mall anchor stores last year.

“We're not abandoning malls,” says Executive Vice President and General Counsel David Zoba, “But we really want to showcase our storefront. We can do that in lifestyle centers because we're often able to be an early anchor and position ourselves to be seen. It's important for us to have parking in front of the store. The male customer is deterred if it's not easy — particularly a hunting or fishing customer. Some men, to this day, are not comfortable going to malls, especially to get hunting and fishing equipment.”

Galyan's observation that some male consumers may not like the congestion at malls is accurate, says analyst Britt Beemer of America's Research Group. But lifestyle locations have a set of challenges all their own, he says. “In an open-air center, there won't be nearly as many retailers as at a mall to attract the male shopper,” says Beemer. “They'll need to spend significantly more money marketing the open-air location.”

Still, Galyan's says its first two lifestyle anchors — at Leawood Town Center Plaza in Kansas and Geneva Commons in Illinois — are performing at or above expectations. And Zoba says lifestyle developers in the retailer's target markets have been courting Galyan's. “They want us if they can fit us because we take a big parcel,” he says.

Another plus for developers, Galyan's is in the early stages of expansion. “The company operates only 34 stores, and can significantly increase that number. Galyan's also operates in a fragmented market, suggesting significant potential for market-share gain,” says Matthew Fassler, an investment analyst with Goldman Sachs; Goldman provides financial services to the retailer.

Zoba says the company is considering locations in the upper Midwest, the upper Southeast and the Northeast.