Tumi, Tommy Bahama ready for stay in Mall at University Town Center

Luxury luggage and clothing stores add to high-end lineup at new shopping center

cschelle@bradenton.comMay 28, 2014 

Luxury luggage company Tumi is the latest retailer to commit to the Mall at University Town Center. The mall is expected to open Oct. 16 at Cattlemen Road and University Parkway. PHOTO PROVIDED

UNIVERSITY PARK -- It's a snowbird match made in Florida at the Mall at University Town Center with luxury luggage store Tumi and beachwear retailer Tommy Bahama coming to University Park.

Both stores have committed to the 880,000-square-foot, two-level mall now being leased by Taubman Centers on Cattlemen Road and University Parkway.

Tumi started in 1975 and takes its name from a Peruvian god. The company started out making soft ballistic nylon bags and continued to make luggage for business travelers. The luggage is usually found in high-end department stores like Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus but now has its own retail stores.

The first Tumi store opened in 1997 in Santa Monica, Calif. The company has more than 183 stores around the world. Tumi also has a store inside the International Plaza in Tampa, also a Taubman Centers mall.

The publicly traded company recorded $108 million in sales for the first quarter, according to its regulatory filings. Tumi expects to open 18 to 22 company-owned stores in 2014 and 2015, mainly in North America, with some in western Europe, according to the company's regulatory filings. Tumi opened 17 stores in 2013 after opening 19 in 2012.

Tommy Bahama will go inside a 4,100-square-foot space adding to its faithful Florida following where it has more than 20 stores and outlets.

The company was founded in 1992 and started its first restaurant and retail location in Naples. Today, Tommy Bahama is based in Seattle with more than 130 retail locations, including a St. Armands outlet that includes a restaurant. The company was acquired in 2003 by Oxford Industries, an Atlanta-based apparel manufacturer, which carries Lilly Pulitzer, Ben Sherman and other brands.

Tumi and Tommy Bahama will join other luxury retailers including Michael Kors, Omega and Calypso St. Barth as well as anchors Macy's, Dillard's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Crate & Barrel, Apple and several restaurants.

The Mall at UTC is expected to open Oct. 16.

Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.

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