The Mall of America said Monday that it will add nine new stores to its lineup over the next few months.
Here's the list, including opening dates:
Blast Blow Dry Bar - Customized blowouts, beautiful updo styling,and professional makeup that is done by fun, energetic stylists that have a passion for styling hair and providing great customer service!
Tentative Opening June 1
Bruegger's Bagels - Guests can choose from more than 20 different bagel varieties, and can top their favorite bagel with a wide selection of 100 percent made-in-Vermont cream cheese flavors.
Tentative Spring 2013
Foreign Exchange - Foreign Exchange strives to unify different cultures and diversities through fashion. Our stores feature items designed and created by individuals from all over the world.
SABON - SABON brings to you the power of the Dead Sea combined with the healing energy of aromatherapy in luxurious bath and body products.
Tentative April 22
Victorinox Swiss Army - Makers of the Original Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox Swiss Army continues to showcase its values of innovation, iconic design, functionality and quality in all its products.
Tentative May 15
Madewell - We're Madewell. We're jeans makers and so much more (head to toe, we've got it all). We're your best friend and personal stylist rolled into one. Tried and true, since 1937.
Tentative Fall 2013
Silver Jeans Co. - Silver Jeans Co. gives its fashion-savvy but cost-conscious customer the latest styles and best quality at a price that he or she can afford.
Tentative August 2013
Moods of Norway- Moods of Norway is an International Lifestyle Design Concept that combines a Norwegian Heritage with International trends. Norway and beyond!
Tentative Fall 2013
Tentative May 2013
Joel Waller will receive an annual salary of $500,000 as the interim CEO of Christopher & Banks, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Waller, a former CEO of Wilsons Leather, will also receive about 50,000 shares in restricted stock.
Waller's compensation package is similar to the man he replaced, Larry Barenbaum, who abruptly left the Plymouth-based women's apparel retailer last month.
Last year, Barenbaum hired Waller to a one year contract as president to help revive the struggling retailer, especially its merchandising efforts.
After Barenbaum's exit, Waller told the Star Tribune he had no interest in the CEO job on a permanent basis.
The latest SEC document states Waller's employment contract will still expire in December.
As it turns out, the most violent disturbance at the Mall of America in 15 years was just another teenage fight that quickly spiraled out of control.
Bloomington police are still investigating the Dec. 26 melee but officials now think it was "most likely" random, said deputy chief Rick Hart.
Mall of America officials referred questions to the Bloomington Police.
The YouTube footage of the melee that quickly spread throughout the mall led credence to the theory the fight was premeditated, perhaps fueled by social media.
Earlier that day, rumors spread on social media that rappers Lil Wayne and Drake would perform at the MOA. Teenagers flock to the mall. A fight breaks out in the food court. Minutes later, teenagers are throwing fists and chairs at one another.
MOA officials were so caught off guard by the fight that they also initially suspected the brawl was organized via Twitter and Facebook. A "flash mob" with more sinister intentions perhaps?
Adding to the confusion was the mall's initial decision, which it quickly reversed, to lock down the property. Eventually, some stores closed early on one of the year's busiest shopping days.
All in all, 10 people were arrested for disorderly conduct, including four juveniles: a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds.
Hart, the spokesman, said police are still working with the mall to identify additional suspects. Those already arrested could still face more serious charges, including rioting, a gross misdemeanor, and assault, a felony.
Apparel retailing used to be about luring celebrities and celebrity designers to create clothing lines exclusively for your store: Jason Wu for Target, Jennifer Lopez for Kohl's, P. Diddy for Macy's.
Lately though, retailers seem to be inching away from flash and sizzle in favor of authenticity and fashion purity. Less Milan and more Main Street.
Last month, Target announced it would launch '"The Shops at Target," in which the retailer would twice a year feature exclusive merchandise from a rotating cast of five boutique shops across the country.
Target made it clear that it was not merely selling product but rather the shops and owners themselves, each of whom boast unique stories, personalities, and clientless. The retailer sent people to secretly scout out the shops for about a year before finally pitching the shop owners.
Now Macy's, H&M, and Saks Fifth Avenue are getting into the act--albeit in a less subtle way. The three retailers will participate in "Fashion Star," a reality-based competition set to debut on NBC in March.
Every week, the show's largely unknown contestants, including several boutique owners, design clothing lines, which are featured in a fashion show. Then the retailers' buyers--Caprice Willard from Macy's, Nicole Christie from H&M, and Terron Schaefer (cool name!) from Saks--decided whether they want to purchase the collections.
If they bite, the retailers will immediately start selling the clothing in stores after the episode.
This will be an interesting experiment. I thought Target selling stuff from five boutiques twice a year was tough. But the Fashion Star retailers' timelines are even more compressed. It can't be easy selling a different clothing line across the country every week based on a television show though we don't really know how much product retailers are ordering.
Target, though, does not have the luxury of a television to hype its boutiques. The retailer must find a way to sell local products on a national scale.
Just like iTunes selling American Idol performances after the show, Fashion Star retailers enjoy a built-in marketing machine within the television show.
I doubt the retailers will generate much sales though they could land an unexpected hit. But generating sales is not really the point.
Like Target, the Fashion Star retailers want to create excitement and buzz and give customers a reason to enter their stores at a time when it has become much easier to buy whatever you want over the Internet. Unlike The Shops at Target, which will be available online, fans apparently can only purchase Fashion Star clothing in stores.
Here's a sneak peek of the show:
NEW YORK – Did you know that Store 3.0, the next-generation retailer that seamlessly combines old-fashioned physical stores with websites, mobile devices and social media, is located in Duluth?
Neither did I.
Here at the National Retail Federation’s annual conference, retailers are pondering a rather existential dilemma: how to position brick-and-mortar stores in an increasingly Internet-driven future.
“We have new retail rules,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman and U.S. retail & distribution leader at consulting firm Deloitte. “The store is not dead. Stores have become a part of a much more complex ecosystem.”
Rare is the store that can strike a harmonious balance between physical and digital.
But they apparently do exist. To prove it, the NRF trotted out David Jaffe, CEO of Ascena Retail Group Inc., which owns Dress Barn, Justice, and Duluth-based Maurices. Jaffe spoke warmly of Maurices, a women’s retailer that caters primarily to shopping malls and small towns. Founded in 1931, Maurices boasts 750 stores in 44 states.
While Maurices may operate in small-town America, the chain is a decidedly 21st-century retailer, one that is especially fond of social media.
To celebrate the launch of its partnership with designer Christopher Straub from “Project Runway,” Maurices recently threw a coming-out party at the Mall of America streamed live on YouTube and featured real-time Twitter feeds on a large screen.
Today, traditional stores account for 91 percent of all retail sales, according to Deloitte. Five years from now, that number will shrink to 63 percent. For retailers, the obvious strategy is to grow both physical and online stores. Easier said than done.
Some retailers, like Target Corp., excel at running stores but are still working to develop the same pattern of success when it comes to online retailing. Others such as Best Buy fare better with new technologies, but their physical stores suffer from the perception they are merely “showrooms” for online merchandise.
At Maurices, the company created what it calls Hometown Sound, a contest that allows customers to vote via a special website for promising bands that will perform at the South by Southwest music festival. This year, the retailer will host a pop-up store at the festival.
Maurices also asked customers through social media to identify people from small towns who could model its clothing. At the same time, the retailer has invested in its physical stores, designing more appealing dressing rooms and developing an electronic loyalty card called Take 10.
“We don’t care if [customers] go online or to the store,” Jaffe said. “Our best customers will do both. It’s not either/or. It’s and, and, and.”
Thomas Lee • 612-673-4113
No one really wants to be called cheap. Price savvy, yes. Frugal, maybe. We'd like to think we possess the taste if not always the money for the finer things in life.
So how do we explain the shrinking pool of large format luxury retailing in the Twin Cities, a region that actually enjoys good incomes along with affection for art museums, concert halls, and theater?
Dave Brennan, a professor of marketing and co-director of the Institute for Retail Excellence at the University of St. Thomas, described Twin Cities shoppers "falling back" from upscale stores.
Case in point: Bloomingdale's is leaving the Mall of America after 20 years. Saks Fifth Avenue converted its downtown Minneapolis location into a lower priced Off 5th Ave format. Neiman Marcus has also struggled in downtown Minneapolis.
Brennan thinks two factors are in play, both cultural.
1. Twin Cities shoppers are not as fashion forward as their counterparts on the coasts.
Nothing new with this theory. Fashion trends seem to take their time spreading from the coasts to the Midwest though social media seems to have shorten the trip. Take Missoni. Target Corp. introduced Missoni before New York's Fashion Week in September and the collection subsequently sold out the first day it was introduced to the Twin Cities the following week.
2. Twin Cities don't spend as much on expensive items.
A little bit of that Lutheran frugality, eh? Perhaps.
There are some reasonable explanations why Bloomingdale's didn't succeed at the Mall of America. The store was much too big. Even the best retailers would find it challenging to squeeze enough sales out of a three level, 210,000 square foot store.
As for Saks and Neiman Marcus, retailing has always been problematic in downtown Minneapolis.
But Brennan may be onto something. Luxury retailing as whole enjoyed a strong 2011, which makes Bloomingdale's struggles in Minnesota all the more atypical.
The MOA has also been generating record sales and traffic, mostly due to its Nickelodeon theme park and upper income shoppers.
"If [Bloomingdale's] couldn't make it at the Mall of America, I don't think they can make it anywhere in the Twin Cities," Brennan said.
Even Sears, which announced recently it will close over 120 stores because of poor sales, decided to keep its Minnesota stores, including the one at MOA, open. Sears!!!
Struggling women's apparel chain Christopher & Banks is closing 100 stores by the end of the month but only one in Minnesota.
Bon-Ton Stores, another struggling department store chain, is looking to open more Herberger's in the metro area.
Here's another theory. Minnesota fueled the dominance of the discount format with Target. More specifically, the Minneapolis-based retail giant pioneered the concept of "cheap chic," the idea that shoppers can buy trendy, fashion forward merchandise like Missoni at prices considerably lower than a luxury department store.
In fact, "Chez Tarjay" did it so job so well that local shoppers have fully embraced Target's mantra: "Expect More. Pay Less."
Perhaps we should adopt that phrase as our new state motto.