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An inside look at top retailers and the consumers they covet

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.

Target's Victoria Beckham line sparks strong online sales

Victoria Beckham's line for Target went on sale to the public on Sunday and gently spiced up the life of some shoppers without also providing too much indigestion as has been the case with some of the retailer's previous design collaborations.

Joshua Thomas, a Target spokesman, said online sales for the collection by the former Spice Girl have already broken a company record for sales of a design partnership.

That's not too surprising because a) more people are shopping online these days and b) Target's website has crumbled under the crushing traffic from some previous collections so many people who tried to buy items online came up disappointed. Remember Lilly Pulitzer?

But this time around, the online launch for Target went off without any major hiccups. In fact, some shoppers were suprised by how easy it was this time around.

"We saw quite a bit of commentary on social media from our guests praising Target for the online experience, which has not always been the case in the past," said Thomas.

Target also ordered more apparel for this collection than it did for Lilly Pulitzer in the hopes of the items not selling out right away and lasting in stores and online for more than just a day. While some items in certain sizes sold out quickly, most products are still generally available for sale.

Another reason for the smoother experience this time around is that this collection, while it received a lot of buzz, did not quite match the hysteria over Lilly Pulitzer. Most stores saw only small lines form outside the stores before they opened on Sunday.

It wasn't, however, as peaceful an experience for shoppers abroad. The Victoria Beckham line for Target created quite a stir across the pond in her native England. But Target doesn't have any stores outside the U.S., so the former pop star-turned-designer made select pieces of the collection available to international customers through her own website.

Beckham's website was the one to reel from the crush of traffic with items quickly selling out and many shoppers getting frustrated by the website's issues. So Beckham took to Twitter to apologize to her fans.

As for the pre-launch parties Target held on Saturday night for select Redcard holders, Thomas acknowledged that the turnout was lower than expected. In a new twist on the design partnerships, Target decided to invite about 500 Redcard holders to five stores around the country to get a chance to shop the collection the night before it went on sale to the general public. Each could bring a plus one. 

So Target had expected to get 200 guests at each event. But the Nicollet Mall store in downtown Minneapolis, for example, only had a bit fewer than 100 customers for the 11 p.m. event after the store closed. Other pre-launch parties were held at 6 p.m. or at midnight in other cities.

"There is a learning curve for us with this," said Thomas, adding that the team is taking a look at whether to adjust the times for such events in the future. "But every guest who was there had a blast."