It’s been a while since Mall of America had an exciting announcement
that didn’t involve SpongeBob. (The Nickelodeon Universe theme park
is supposed to open March 15, by the way.) But finally, MOA is rolling out the welcome mat for a whole new crop of stores, including two new concepts from Abercrombie & Fitch: Gilly Hicks Sydney, "an upscale but moderately priced" underwear brand launching world-wide this year and Ruehl, targeting the post-Abercrombie generation of 22 to 35-year-olds with urban business casual apparel. After Gap’s "grown-up" Forth & Towne brand tanked before making it to Minneapolis, I’m glad we’re going to get a shot at shopping Ruehl. Other newcomers in the next few months will include Gymboree’s fancier line, Janie and Jack as well as company stores from Levis and Lacoste. Just when shopping starts to seem staid, MOA does come through, reminding us of its power to draw big brands. I just hope someone in this price-sensitive town is actually buying those lovely things at the new Burberry store.