WEST HARTFORD — Lululemon Athletica, purveyor of high-priced athletic clothing, is leaving its location in West Hartford Center for a space in Westfarms Mall.
"It's a little bit of a disappointment," said Barbara Lerner, executive director of the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce.
Lerner said that while the store's sales have been strong, company officials feel they can sell as much as 50 percent more volume in the mall.
A sign at the store says they will be moving to the mall, "Fall 2015." Employees there said they are not allowed to speak to the press. Corporate company representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Lululemon Athletica moved into the prominent 3,032-square-foot space at 987 Farmington Avenue in 2011. The location was previously occupied by Bennett's Card & Party Emporium, and Lerner said another company is in the process of signing a lease for the location.
While she can't yet reveal the name of the new business, "it will be a wonderful addition to West Hartford Center," Lerner said.
Paid parking has long been a concern for retailers and shoppers in the center and Blue Back Square areas, but, "I don't think parking played into" Lululemon's move, Lerner said.
The company had a very good sales volume and a loyal clientele, and "there's so much more to having a business that wants to be part of the community," Lerner said. A mall location means longer store hours and more staff, so "it's going to be interesting to see what happens to them ... we hate to see a business leave anywhere but they are staying in town."
Lerner has been involved in the retail community of West Hartford Center since 1991, and "stores have come and gone," Lerner said. "West Hartford Center is a wonderful location to have a business."
Lululemon has been a sponsor of the annual "Om Street" outdoor yoga session in West Hartford Center, but Andrea Miller of West Hartford Yoga studio said the move won't affect the event.