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Staff photo by Mike Pare / A woman walks into a planned Skechers store at Hamilton Crossing that's slated to open early next month.

This story was updated Monday, July 22, 2019, at 11:15 p.m.

Popular footwear retailer Skechers plans to open its first Chattanooga store next month adjacent to Hamilton Place mall.

The company is remaking the former LifeWay Christian Store space at Hamilton Crossing next to the mall with plans for an Aug. 2 opening, said Taylor Bostwick, the marketing director for Hamilton Place.

"It's part of the ongoing addition of new stores, new offerings," Bostwick said.

California-based Skechers is leasing 8,129 square feet in the former location of LifeWay, which earlier this summer closed its last Chattanooga store as it plans to shut its brick-and-mortar stores nationally.

Bostwick said Skechers is readying to open for the start of school, and that's why building and mall owner CBL Properties was able to fill the space so quickly.

"I don't think they're doing a huge overhaul," she said. "They'll make it look like a Skechers and not an old bookstore."

Skechers has an outlet unit at Calhoun Outlet Marketplace in Calhoun, Georgia. But the new Chattanooga store will be Skechers' first full-service space in the area.

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Founded in 1992, the Manhattan Beach, California-based retailer has grown to become the third largest athletic footwear brand in the United States with more than 3,000 stores and more than 11,000 employees.

While the company started 2019 at a slow sales pace, it rebounded in the second quarter. Skechers posted second-quarter revenue growth of 10.9% to $1.25 billion last week, according to financial results.

Earnings per share came in at 49 cents, up 69%, the company reported. In the third quarter, Skechers expects revenue of $1.32 billion to $1.35 billion, with earnings per share at between 65 cents and 70 cents.

"We're continuing to strategically view our business with a global lens as trends are traveling faster," said Robert Greenberg, chief executive officer of Skechers, in a statement. "Specifically, many of our key product styles are introduced at virtually the same time around the world, with nuances in certain markets, giving us the ability to replicate our success around the globe."

Bostwick said the new store is another option for shoppers at Hamilton Place, where one end of the mall is undergoing a huge makeover.

The closing of the Sears store early this year has spurred a vast redevelopment that has already led to a Cheesecake Factory restaurant and plans for a Dave & Buster's entertainment complex, a new Dick's Sporting Goods store and offices.

Also, an Aloft Hotel is planned in the vicinity by Chattanooga-based Vision Hospitality Group.

"Everything is ... moving along quickly," said Bostwick. "We see changes every day."

Inside, the mall has created new pop-up store space and locally based The Barn Door Boutique is there through Sunday, Bostwick said.

LifeWay had been a tenant at Hamilton Crossing since 1998, according to CBL.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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