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Archive for January 4th, 2012

Out With Bloomies, In With…

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

A look ahead at the reinvented Bloomingdale's wing at MOA

At least four “major international fashion-forward retail stores”–three new to town–will replace Bloomingdale’s at Mall of America, vice president of public relations Dan Jasper announced Wednesday. He was not ready to name names today, but Zara and TopShop are among the likely contenders. (Worth noting: another hot new concept in expansion mode, Joe Fresh, is Canadian. That counts as international!)  Expect announcements over the next few months as leases are finalized.

Bloomingdale’s was one of the original MOA anchors, and is the first to leave. The Macy’s Inc.-owned retailer announced plans to close three other stores nationwide. The MOA store will close in March. A sale starts this Sunday.

“We are grateful to Bloomingdale’s for 20 years and wish them the best,” Jasper said. “This gives us an opportunity to be a trendsetter.”

MOA plans to break out of the traditional anchor model and will add a sub-level,  turning the larger space into a wing for “luxury retailers and a new upscale restaurant.” One of the yet-to-be-named retailers will occupy a 90,000 square foot space on the new sub-level and first floor (hmm…smells like Top Shop). On the third level of the Bloomingdale’s space, Jasper said, “we will continue to add destination value-priced retail.” Owner Triple Five Worldwide will invest $30 to $50 million for the renovations and new construction, which is scheduled to begin in mid-February.

Bloomingdale’s Closing at MOA

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Bloomingdale’s is closing its Mall of America store. A spokesperson for the Macy’s Inc.-owned department store declined to provide more details until employees have been informed later today. Mall of America is planning a press conference of its own this afternoon to reveal “other news,” which we can hope is a replacement anchor. My money is on JC Penney, with its new focus on amping up the fashion. However, industry experts point out JC Penney’s largest stores are 100,000 square feet, and the Bloomies spot is a whopping 210,000. Perhaps it will be divided. There just aren’t many traditional anchors left to consider.

The news, while a blow to MOA and our MN fashion cred, should come as no surprise to anyone who has set foot in the MOA Bloomingdale’s–particularly, in comparison to Bloomies in other cities. They just didn’t get it. Bloomingdale’s never embraced the power, the appeal, the draw of MOA. They treated that store like a second class citizen–didn’t offer their best brands and made little effort to connect with customers, local or tourists. MOA, with its 40 million-plus annual visitors is the ultimate branding opportunity. Retailers from around the world are clawing to get in…just to be part of it. Bloomingdale’s snoozed through it. This is in sharp contrast to Nordstrom, which has always taken its MOA store seriously and in recent years has stepped up the designer fashion, recognizing the demand–and lack of other options–in town.

Place your bets now. MOA will make an announcement at 3:05 p.m.


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