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An inside look at top retailers and the consumers they covet

Kit and Ace closes all U.S. stores, including Mall of America location

In the span of two years, the Twin Cities went from no Kit and Ace stores to two stores -- and is now back down to zero.

But we're not alone.

The retailer, a Canadian brand launched in 2014 by Lululemon founder Chip Wilson and his family, has closed all of its stores in the U.S. and all other international locations outside of Canada as it refocuses on its online business, according to news reports.

The Kit and Ace location at the Mall of America has already closed. A second location in the North Loop was already slated to close this spring.

The Twin Cities was one of the first metro areas outside of New York and San Francisco to get one of these stores. The company, which brings an athleisure ethos to T-shirts and casual everyday clothes but at a premium price, rapidly began opening stores around the world, flush with the Wilson family's fortunes.

"We have money," JJ Wilson, the son of Chip Wilson, told the Star Tribune in 2015. "We are 100 percent self-financed. But I don’t think we would go into such an aggressive expansion if we didn’t see such excitement in the first few months.”

At one point, Kit and Ace had about 60 stores, but had already pared the number back to about 40 stores. The chain will have less than 10 stores left in Canada after this new wave of store closures.

As it cuts back its physical footprint, Kit and Ace said it will refocus its efforts on its online business.

“We recognize the traditional world of bricks and mortar retailing is changing, which is why we’re shifting strategies,” Chip Wilson said in a statement given to other news outlets. “We believe in the business model for Kit and Ace. Going forward, we will be a stronger company.”

Office Depot remodels Edina and Maple Grove stores in national makeover

 

Office Depot is remodeling about 75 stores nationally this year, including ones in Edina and Maple Grove.

Office Depot is remodeling about 75 stores nationally this year, including ones in Edina and Maple Grove.

 

Office Depot took the wraps off its "store of the future" concept at a location in Edina this morning, the first in Minnesota to get the makeover.

So far, Office Depot has remodeled 25 stores with the new layout, which includes larger signage and more areas to try products out before making a purchase. The new stores offer tech support services similar to those found at electronics retailers.

The company is also adding new services to the print and copy centers in the remodeled stores.

Office Depot will bring the new layout to its Maple Grove location next week.

The Boca Raton, Fla-based company is revamping 75 stores in its 1,400-unit chain with the new layout this year. It has also announced plans to close 75 stores, down from the 123 it closed last year.

The company continues to operate some stores under the Office Max name after merging with that firm in 2013. The Edina location, at 7535 France Ave., was under the Office Max name until the makeover.

It has about two dozen locations under the Office Max and Office Depot names in the greater Twin Cities region.