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Cathy Jett is the assistant business editor at The Free Lance-Star, and specializes in covering the area's retail scene.

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Three clothing stores coming to Spotsylvania Towne Centre

SHOPPING for apparel and accessories?

You’ll find more choices at Spotsylvania Towne Centre this spring.

Three clothing stores— Chico’s, Body Central, and Buckle—will open at the mall by the end of May. And an existing store, The Shoe Dept., reopens today in a larger location with a new name, The Shoe Dept. En core.

Chico’s is moving from Central Park to a slightly larger, 3,000-square-foot space next to Bravo! Cucina Italiana in the mall’s open- air The Village at Towne Center.

The retailer targets fash ion-savvy women 30 years and older with private-label clothing that it describes as fashionable, figure-flatter ing and comfortable.

Chico’s was founded in 1983 as a boutique selling Mexican folk art and cotton sweaters on Florida’s Sanibel Island. It now operates more than 601 Chico’s boutiques and 83 outlets. Parent com pany Chico’s FAS Inc. also owns White House | Black Market in the Village at Towne Centre as well as Soma Intimates.

Soma Intimates is one of the retailers that readers submitting suggestions to this year’s annual Wish List said they’d like to see open here. Keep your fingers crossed.

Body Central sells trendy apparel and accessories for women in their late teens and 20s at affordable prices. A single-button jacket on its website, bodyc.com, for ex ample, is listed at $29.90.

The majority of the retail er’s tops, dresses, bottoms, jewelry, accessories and shoes are sold under its exclusive Body Central and Lipstick labels.

The first Body Central opened in 1973 in Jack sonville, Fla. The company now has more than 220 stores in 24 states and is expanding aggressively. Its 3,600-square-foot location in Spotsylvania Towne Cen tre location will be between Papaya and New York & Company.

Buckle caters to men, women and children who are seeking the latest fashion trends. It’s known as a denim destination because it car ries a variety of fits, finishes and styles from such brands as Big Star, Rock Revival and its own BKE label.

It also offers a mix of other apparel, accessories and footwear by such brands as Billabong, Roxy and Naughty Monkey, a shoe brand fa vored by former vice presi dential candidate Sarah Palin. Remember her Naughty Monkey Double Dare pumps?

Buckle customers can get personal fittings for jeans fittings and free hemming. The retailer also offers free gift-packaging, layaway, a frequent shopper program and a credit card with special benefits.

Buckle got its start in 1948 as a single store in Kearney, Neb. It now has more than 400 stores in 41 states. The mall store will occupy just under 6,900 square feet next to Hollister.

That’s the former site of The Shoe Dept., which re opened in an 11,472 square- foot space next to Costco as The Shoe Dept. Encore. The larger space means it can cater to a broader range of customers by offering a wider variety of shoes and price points, according to spokeswoman Vicki Ayers.

The Shoe Dept. Encore stores carry 17,000 pairs of casual, work, athletic and dress shoes for men, women and children, as well as handbags and accessories. That’s 2,000 more pairs of shoes than a The Shoe Dept. store stocks.

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