Celebrating 25 years of fabulous fashion, food
When The Forum Shops opened at Caesars Palace on May 11, 1992, it spanned nearly 300,000 square feet and boasted 70 stores.
“When we opened, it was a different entity and hadn’t been proven yet,” said Maureen Crampton, director of marketing and business development, who has been with The Forum Shops since its grand opening. “It was dedicated to retail and dining, and was adjacent to a casino, and nothing like it had been done in the retail world.”
As The Forum Shops celebrates its 25th anniversary, Crampton said the overall appearance of the Roman-themed destination hasn’t changed much.
“We’re a destination-driven shopping center that never changes in ambiance, and there’s some validity behind that,” she said. “Our evolution is really based around the movement and change in our retail experiences.”
Since opening, The Forum Shops has undergone two expansions in order to increase its tenant roster.
The first, which Crampton calls “Phase Two,” occurred in August 1997 when 35 stores were added.
“When we opened our doors, it was an instant success, so anyone who was interested in the original grand opening and decided not to jump onboard finally did,” she said. “We built toward the back of the building and brought in Nike and The Cheesecake Factory, which hadn’t been brought to Las Vegas before.”
Just seven years later, in October 2004, The Forum Shops expanded toward Las Vegas Boulevard and added 57 more stores.
“We wanted to bring The Forum Shops closer to the pedestrian traffic so we brought it out, and it was more of a vertical build with a spiral escalator and three levels as opposed to one,” Crampton said. “By spreading out further, it made it easier for people to access the front of the building.”
The Forum Shops now boasts 160 specialty shops and restaurants, including originals Victoria’s Secret, Gucci, Versace, Antiquities, Armani Exchange, Spago and The Palm Restaurant.
“We’re lucky because we have many of our original tenants, and it gives you that sense of family, which is really fun,” Crampton said. “The tenants keep us fresh with their merchandise, store design and displays.”
She added that The Forum Shops’ success can be attributed to three things.
“It’s a combination of our location on one of the busiest corners of Las Vegas and the world; the fact that we’re connected to Caesars; and our world-renowned retailers and restaurants,” Crampton said. “We’re on the list of must-sees when you’re in Vegas, and that comes with time and reputation, and we’re really proud of the fact that we’re recognized throughout the world.”
One of the most recent change at The Forum Shops include the addition of a digital pylon marquee on Las Vegas Boulevard, which was recommended by the shopping destination’s owner, Simon Property Group.
“We’ve always been traditional in our approach, and after talking to our corporate team, we recognized it was important to have a visual representation of The Forum Shops along Las Vegas Boulevard,” Crampton said.
She added the sign is 85 feet tall and that it’s slated to go live in the middle of May.
“It provides that ‘wow’ factor, and it’ll be state-of-the-art and vibrant,” Crampton said. “It will make us pop.”
The Forum Shops also added new concept stores last year.
“They’re not a cart or kiosk,” Crampton said. “They’re clear-glass stores that are accessible through a door, but the walls are glass so you can see the inventory no matter where you are.”
The new concept stores are Creed, a fragrance company, and MCM leather goods.
“It was really to embellish the fact that you have a lot of foot traffic, and it makes sense to add these freestanding boutiques to make it easy for consumers to look and see the inventory, what that brand has to offer, and it’s visually appealing and different for us,” Crampton said. “It was a perfect fit.”
Though The Forum Shops has had a successful 25-year run, Crampton said the 683,000-square-foot shopping center hasn’t been immune to changes in the retail industry, which include more shoppers turning to the internet.
“It’s affected every retail venue throughout the country, but after chatting with investors a while ago, they said, ‘You’ve got to feel special about your position in the retail world,’ and we definitely do,” Crampton said. “We don’t have any deportment stores to anchor us, shoppers still want an experiential dynamic, and they want to be in awe of the atmosphere and try things on.”
She added, “We’re also part of the whole experience of visiting Las Vegas and buying something, taking it home and having a memento from your trip.”
Of the nearly 43 million visitors who flocked to Las Vegas this past year, 32 million visited The Forum Shops, and many hailed from countries like Japan, India and Brazil.
“We did something different in 1992, and it’s withstood all these years, proving our business model to be a true success,” Crampton said. “We have new retailers and businesses that want to be part of The Forum Shops family, and it’s a great statement after all these years.”