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Ali Shops Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Mall of America’

Valentine’s Day, MOA Style

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

And what have you done so far today? Five crazy couples boarded the Ferris wheel early this morning at Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe and simultaneously got hitched in motion. The quintuple wedding was officiated by a pastor from the mall’s Chapel of Love. (He remained grounded and used a microphone.)

The couples noshed on Bruegger’s bagels before the ceremonial ride. There were no reports of motion sick brides or grooms.

To celebrate the nuptials–and what is apparently also National Ferris Wheel Day–Ferris wheel rides are free all day at MOA.

Meet Maria Rivolta

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

I had the pleasure to meet Argentinian jewelry designer Maria Rivolta at her namesake store at Mall of America today. She’s engaging and chic—in a gray and black, Calvin Klein-inspired, understated way you might not expect from someone whose jewelry is known for color. But Rivolta loves a pop of color or shine. And she likes her jewelry to be fun, fashionable, and delightfully affordable. Meet her at the store (first level, outside Bloomingdale’s) from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, and save on two of her favorite enamel designs.

Diana Exhibit @ MOA

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Tonight, I got to preview Diana, A Celebration, the exhibit opening Saturday, Feb. 4 at Mall of America. I was totally impressed. So much of the advance talk has been about Princess Diana’s 1981 royal wedding dress, with its 25-foot train–that I had no idea how much more the exhibit had to offer: a look at Princess Diana’s childhood, her charity work around the world and a collection of 28 dresses she wore through her years in the public eye. Fascinating to see how the fashions changed and her sophistication evolved. Sad to recall how abruptly it all ended.

Mall of America campaigned hard to get the exhibit, which travels to just a couple of cities each year, and always returns to Diana’s family estate, Althorp, in England for a summer display. (William walked Kate through these very artifacts before their own wedding.) Tune in to myTalk107.1 at 11:15 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, when exhibit handler Nick Grossmark will talk about Diana’s impact on fashion and share more behind-the-scenes tidbits with me on Shop Girls.

The exhibit is on the fourth floor (across from Hooters). Once inside, you’ll forget where you are, and remember where you were for a couple of the most-watched events in modern history. Tickets start at $23.50 for adults and $13.50 for children. Purchase them at guest service desks throughout the mall and the exhibition box office. Diana: A Celebration will be at MOA through June 10.

That’s JCP, Thank You

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Just when it seemed there wasn’t a new idea in retail, J.C. Penney laid out an ambitious plan to overhaul its stores and brand. Some highlights:

- Fewer sales, lower prices. J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson confirmed what we already know: Very little department store merchandise, like 2 percent, sells at full price. So rather than go through the motions of pricing it high only to put it on clearance, J.C. Penney will price most merchandise 30 percent lower to start, with month promotions on select goods.

- Shops within the store. You know it: J.C. Penney is blah. Following its success with Sephora shops within JC Penney, the entire floor will be gradually reconfigured into mini shops.

- Monthly themes more in line with our lives rather than the retail calendar. So January might be about “renewal,” as WWD reported, with special merchandise to support the theme. (Can’t wait to see if they can really resist breaking out the Christmas decor the day after Halloween).

- Ellen DeGeneres as the new spokeswoman in ads.

- New brands, like Nanette Lepore creating a juniors dress and sportswear line called  l’amour nanette lepore.

- Every brand makeover requires a P. Diddy move: J.C. Penney wants be known as JCP. The initials were revealed today on new red, white and blue logos.

It would be nice to think the stores can really evolve as dramatically as Johnson, a retail visionary credited with major change at Target and Apple,  as dramatically as described. At the very least, J.C. Penney-er, JCP-has retailers talking about (and no doubt defending) promotional pricing and in a meaningful way.

This is going to be fun to watch.

MN p.s.: J.C. Penney was my first guess at a replacement for Bloomingdale’s at MOA. Industry response to that theory was tepid…but with today’s news, I can’t help but think what a perfect place MOA would be to unveil a completely reinvented JCP. Say 90,000 square feet or so?

Destination Maternity: Arriving @MOA

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

A Pea in the Pod, Spring 2012

Motherhood Maternity, Spring 2012

Destination Maternity will open its first Twin Cities store at Mall of America on Thursday, Jan. 19. This superstore for mamas-to-be brings dominant maternity brands A Pea in the Pod and Motherhood Maternity under one roof. Find both price-conscious and designer maternity fashion, plus accessories and gifts. Bring the family, and plan to stay a while: the store features a juice bar, a soft-sided toddler play area, and two  flat-screen TV viewing areas–one for kids, and one for dads.

On Thursday, the first 50 moms-to-be will receive a free gift card loaded with a mystery value from $10 to $250. The first 50 shoppers to spend $125 will receive a gift bag. And get a free Carter’s bodysuit with purchase, while supplies last.

Destination Maternity, second level, south side (near Macy’s)

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.

Win VIP MOA Parking + $25

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Some retail destinations promote their selection or sales this time of year. At Mall of America, all that’s a given. The issue is getting to it. Thus, the “12 Days of Parking” promotion. MOA is reserving 12 front row parking spots for the 12 days leading up to Christmas. I’m giving them away today-Saturday, Dec. 10–on Shop Girls. A dozen listeners will be guaranteed VIP parking for next Saturday, Dec. 17. Each winner will also receive a $25 mall gift card. (And we all know you could spend that thing four or five times over in the minutes you’ll save searching for a parking spot.) Listen to win, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today on myTalk107.1.

P.S.: You’ll get another chance to win Tuesday in our shopping e-newsletter, Swag.

Tell Maria Rivolta Ali Sent You

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Pays to check AliShopsBlog on a Saturday: Maria Rivolta has offered to extend her 25 percent off weekend friends & family deal to my readers! Maria Rivolta is the store without walls outside Bloomingdale’s at Mall of America – right near Rainforest Cafe. I’m worried some shoppers are a bit intimidated to go beyond the front display case at this non-traditional store. But really, it’s worth a look: the fashion jewelry has a great, modern look, fun color and is affordable. Even more so, today and tomorrow. MOA, 1802 South Blvd., 952-926-2897

Cleaning Up Movember

Monday, November 28th, 2011
Bless you, Kiehl’s, for turning your Mall of America grand opening into a grand clean up of Movember, the national grow a moustache in November movement which has hurt our eyes (and relationships?) with many a creepy patch of upper lip facial hair. On Wednesday, the last day of the month, for one day only, Kiehl’s will offer complimentary moustache shaves for men from 4 to 7 p.m. And for every shave, Kiehl’s will donate $50 to the Minnesota AIDS Project. Ladies, dragging your mustachioed man into the store adds up to another $50 donation by Kiehl’s.
A Barbershop Quartet will create the mood and food and drink will be served. The first 160 customers in the store on Wednesday will receive a complimentary full-size product. And participate in raffles throughout the day. Mall of America, first floor, north side, 952-854-9541 | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved