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Posts about Department stores

Saks Off Fifth Mpls throws consumers a few curve balls at closing

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: January 21, 2015 - 2:54 PM

Saks Off Fifth in downtown Minneapolis ended its liquidation sale of clothes and shoes on Saturday, Jan. 17. On the last day everything was discounted an additional 70 percent and considering the few pieces that were left, it was a very successful Going-Out-of-Business sale.

But bargain hunters like me who were wondering if everything would be 90% off on the last day were left scratching our heads. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 13-14, Saks discounted everything 80 percent. On Thursday, however, the discount dropped to 70 percent. Hardly a bait and switch, but it's unprecedented in my experience for a retailer to raise prices in the last few days.Maybe they were committed to closing Saturday and everything was selling too fast at 80% off.

I asked Tiffany Bourre, director of communications for Hudson Bay Co., in an email why the company backtracked on the discounts. I also asked her if there was an update about the outlet relocating in downtown Minneapolis or elsewhere. She ignored my shifting discount question, but responded to the relocation question: "I do not have a timeline to share. Should we have any updates we will make an announcement," she wrote.

Meanwhile, the store is still open but only to sell fixtures and a few remaining art pieces discounted 50 percent or so. (All the clothing and shoes have been removed.) I chuckled at the $300 price of a bird cage (?) festooned with ribbon and curlicues. My untrained eye failed to appreciate the artistry or artist, but I wonder if anyone will buy one for $30, let alone $300.

The store remains open for the sale of fixtures and art through Sunday, Jan. 25

Come back to Minneapolis soon, Saks Off Fifth, but you can keep the birdcages.

Saks Off 5th will close Jan. 17 but may reopen in downtown Mpls.

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: January 6, 2015 - 11:00 AM

Saks Off 5th in downtown Minneapolis will close Saturday, Jan. 17, according to Tiffany Bourre, external communications director for Hudson's Bay Company, which owns Saks.

With storewide discounts of 70% off everything for the past week (except art), the remaining merchandise has been consolidated on the second floor with art and store fixtures on the third floor. I was shocked at how many men's suits have sold. A week ago there were hundreds left in a wide size range. On Monday there were fewer than 75 left.

Bourre wrote in an email that there may be additional discounts but did not confirm if they would start this week. A store employee said that new markdowns are announced in the morning with no advance notice.

Saks outlet shoppers in the Twin Cities can still patronize the Off 5th that opened last August in the Eagan Outlet mall, Twin Cities Premium Outlets. They can also hold out hope that Saks may open another outlet in Minneapolis down the road. Nothing is signed but Bourre wrote, "We are actively looking for additional locations in the Minneapolis market, including downtown."

Rumors have circulated that Saks and another high-fashion retailer may be interested in opening outlet stores  in City Center in the former Office Depot space on a corner at S. 7th St. and Nicollet Mall.

About 50 employees will lose their jobs as a result of the closing. There is no word on whether any of those employees will be able to transfer to the Eagan store.

Bargain hunters can still find plenty to woo them to the outlet, except for much of the art for sale on the 3rd floor. At 50 percent off, it's not moving as fast. On Monday I inquired about two unpriced contemporary glass pieces hanging on opposite walls in the escalator bank. "You'd have to find a way to remove them yourself," said an employee. "You'll probably need to rent scaffolding."

I didn't bother to ask the price.

Shopping for great deals Dec. 26? Here are some of the TC's best.

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: December 24, 2014 - 2:37 PM

If you didn't make it to Saks Off Fifth on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis this week, you still haven't missed 70% off the entire store. The store is expected to close Jan. 20, according to one sales associate on Wednesday. The 70% off the lowest marked price sale

 (shown) began Monday, Dec. 22 and is expected to remain at 70% off until Jan. 4, when it may get bumped up to 80%, she said. Items are selling quickly, but there was still plenty of merchandise on Dec. 24. Saks is considering a new, smaller location in Minneapolis, but has not confirmed anything yet, according to Tiffany Bourre, director of external communications at Hudson Bay Company, which owns Saks. It opened a new outlet in Twin Cities Premium Outlets in Eagan last summer.

Judith McGrann & Friends gift shop (4615 Excelsior Blvd, Mpls., 612-922-2971) discounts her entire store 50% every year on Dec. 26 through the end of the year. Nothing is held back including women's clothing and accessories, jewelry, ceramics, kitchen ware, candles and seasonal items. Discounts do not increase. Unsold items are donated to charity. This is a very popular sale. Get in line before the store opens for the best selection.

Another store that will have diehard fans waiting in line on Friday before the doors open is Room & Board in Edina. Despite the popular outlet store in Golden Valley, R&B's after Christmas sale is extremely well-attended. Save 20 to 50 percent. All floor samples are final sale as in the outlet store, but insiders will be checking the website at midnight on Dec. 25 for additional items released on clearance that may be returned if they don't work. Locals can also save on shipping costs by picking items up at the Golden Valley Distribution Center.

Other sales of note: Nordstrom's Half-Yearly men's sale begins Friday and continues through Dec. 29 at Mall of America. Half-Price Books discounts everything 20% Friday through Dec. 30. An underappreciated bargain shop called Discount 70 (4027 Central Av. NE., Columbia Heights, 763-781-8922) discounts everything in the main store 50%, except sofas and loveseats, through Jan. 3.

Macy's celebrates Ridgedale remodeling completion with freebies

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: September 10, 2014 - 9:42 AM

The first 300 customers to walk through the west doors at Macy's Ridgedale on Wed., Sept. 10 will receive a $10 Macy's gift card. Two of the recipients will get $500 each. Doors open at 10 a.m.

Macy's began moving the men's and home annex into a larger Macy's footprint back in February. The newly expanded and remodeled Macy's inhabits 290,000 square feet, about the same size as the two stores combined, but store manager and vice-president Scott Bartos said the selling space is larger because two locations don't have to duplicate lunchrooms, stockrooms and loading docks.

The women's dresses department has doubled in size, while women's shoes and cosmetics departments such as Chanel, Dior, and Impulse are substantially expanded. Men's Polo Ralph Lauren, Nautica and Calvin Klein have also been expanded. New lines/shops include the Ryan Seacrest Distinction collection, Macy's Home Collection Finest, Finish Line and Locker Room by Lids. The popular Lakeshore Grill has moved but sports the Waterford chandelier from Macy's St. Paul River Room, now closed. A Taste Bar Cafe on the first floor

offers house-made soups, baked goods, salads and sandwiches with plenty of seating.

The former men's and home annex has been demolished to make way for a new Nordstrom that will open fall 2015. Back in 1995 Macy's predecessor Dayton's moved into the vacated Carson Pirie Scott, which pulled out of the Twin Cities market. At the time, many believed Dayton's took the space to keep Nordstrom out of Ridgedale.

Big box purchase coming up? Save w/ discounted coupons or giftcards

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: July 28, 2014 - 10:09 AM

Want to know how a cheapskate's mind works? Step into my head for a minute.

 I want a couple of chairs and ottomans at Crate & Barrel, but they're not on sale. I will not pay full-price on something that will probably go on sale in the next 6 months. But there's gotta be a way to save 10 to 15 percent now.

"Ten to 15 percent?! You can squeeze a nickel a lot harder than that! What about Target or furniture consignment shops? You call yourself a cheapskate. You're an embarrassment to penny pinchers everywhere!"

Get out of my !*&%!! head. I'm in charge here!

Where was I? Oh yeah,  I'll look for the 15 percent off coupon that C&B sent late last year when I moved.

"Really? You can't even find the Target circular from last Sunday. How do you expect to find a coupon from last year?"

Agreed. Time for plan B. I ask a salesperson at C&B--will these items be going on sale soon? Salesperson tells me about a custom goods sales starting Aug. 8, which may or may not include the items I want.

Time for Plan C. I go to Craigslist and eBay to look for discounted gift cards and coupons. This little trick has been around for years and there are even sites such as

that sell them. Discounts are usually 5 to 20 percent. I try Craigslist first because that's the easiest. I try to buy a gift card with $346.47 on it for $310. Guy agrees to meet me in the Galleria to verify the balance but never seems to be available to meet. I give up and head to eBay for a coupon. (Crate & Barrel periodically mails out coupons for 10 to 15% off regularly-priced merchandise when people have moved to a new home etc.)

On eBay, there were about 50 coupons for sale for Crate & Barrel last week from 10 to 20 percent off with the bidding starting at 99 cents. Why did I never think of selling them on eBay before? Duh. The "Buy it Now" prices range from $5.99 (10%) and up. I have no patience to join in a nickel and dime bidding war over a coupon. I choose "Buy it Now" and purchase a 15% off coupon for $7.

Earlier last week my coupon arrived in the mail. (Some sellers just email you the promocode number.) I went to C&B on Sunday and decided on two ottomans and a couple of accessories totalling about $400. I got nervous as the salesman started to punch in the discount code, worried that the code would no longer be valid.

But the transaction went through flawlessly WITH the discount of about $60. Not bad for a $7 investment.

I could have saved even more purchasing a discounted gift card, but I'm still nervous about purchasing those on eBay. Maybe I'll use one of the discounted gift card websites and report back.

Herberger's outlet opens in Maplewood

Posted by: John Ewoldt Updated: May 15, 2014 - 3:46 PM

Herberger's new clearance center in Maplewood is open for business. The official grand opening isn't until Friday, but the outlet opened "softly" on Wednesday.

Most of the customers were in the neighborhood and noticed the "now open" signs, including Denise Aljets of St. Paul who thought the outlet's prices were "better than Wal-Mart's."

It's the mid-line department store's first free-standing outlet store, although there is a smaller clearance center on part of the second floor in the St. Paul Midway location.  Parent company Bon-Ton operates 271 department stores in 25 states, including Younkers and Carson Pirie Scott, but the new Herberger's outlet is only the 4th outlet in the chain. .Bon-Ton has two Carson Pirie Scott clearance centers in Chicago and one Boston Store outlet in Milwaukee.

The 27,000 square foot space in a former OfficeMax includes a large selection of ladies, kids and men's clothing, accessories, shoes and home goods at discounts of 60 to 80 percent. All of the merchandise comes from full-line Bon-Ton stores (Herberger's, Boston Store, Elder-Beerman and others) that went unsold at the end of last year's spring/summer season. None of the goods are special purchase items made specifically for the outlet, said store manager Brian Schinke.

The clearance is located in the Birch Run Station shopping Center at 1717 Beam Ave. in Maplewood. The store is open 9;30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Call 651-777-6134 for more information.


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