By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Francesca’s Holdings Corp., the company behind the Francesca’s Collection fashion boutiques, has signed a lease for 218,000 square feet to house its corporate headquarters and distribution facility in Houston.
The new lease will allow the retailer to consolidate its operations “back under one roof,” company president & CEO John De Meritt noted in a prepared statement. The company has not publicly disclosed the address of the one roof, but it did reveal that the space is located within six miles of its current location of 3840 W. 12th St.
In addition to a consolidation, the deal marks an expansion for the retailer, which, according to a document filed with the SEC, currently occupies 100,000 square feet, 70,000 of which is distribution and warehouse space. Not only will Francesca’s have more elbow room in its new home, it will be able to expand further, as terms of the lease agreement give the company the option to spread out into an additional 122,000 if so desired.
And Francesca’s is in it for the long haul. The primary lease term expires April 30, 2020, and provides the option to extend the lease for as many as 10 years. Financial details of the agreement have not been made available. However, the average asking rent in the third quarter of 2011 for flex space in Houston ranged from $9.75 to $11 triple net for Class A space and $6.50 to $8 for Class B properties, as per a report by commercial real estate services firm Transwestern.
Francesca’s is on track to relocate in late summer or early fall this year, but in the meantime, more leasing activity is in the works. “We plan to add approximately 75 new boutiques each year and continue to believe we have the potential to grow our store count to at least 900 boutiques,” De Meritt said during the company’s third quarter earnings call in December. Francesca’s stores, located at mall and non-mall sites across the country, range in size from 1,000 to 1,800 square feet. As of the close of the third quarter of last year, there were 283 Francesca’s boutiques in 41 states.