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An inside look at top retailers and the consumers they covet

North Loop nabs Madewell denim test store, only the 3rd in the country

While J. Crew limps along with declining sales, Madewell has become the company's shining star. So much a star that privately-held J. Crew filed an IPO for Madewell to go public, which could happen early next year.

Now the brand that represents "real, honest" women's and men's casual clothing plans to open a Denim Edit boutique in the spring in North Loop.

Located between Lululemon and Fairgrounds Craft Coffee and Tea, the boutique will be only the third location for Madewell denim. The other denim specialty shops are in Nashville and Charlotte, N.C. The Twin Cities has Madewell locations in Southdale and Mall of America, but the brand can also be found in Nordstrom.

Denim accounted for nearly 30% of Madewell’s total sales in 2018. It’s such an integral part of the brand started in 2006 that J. Crew’s former CEO Mickey Drexler once said he wanted to make Madewell’s jeans, which sell for $100 to $150, the Levi’s of its generation. 

One of the characteristics of the brand is sustainability. Customers can get 20% off a pair of jeans if they trade in a pair at purchase. The denim can also be personalized, including stamping and leather monogramming.

The store will be located at 124 N. 3rd Ave. in Minneapolis. Also debuting next year in the neighborhood will be West Elm home furnishings, AxeBridge Winery, Billy Sushi restaurant and Fillmore Minneapolis concert hall.

One of the Twin Cities’ hottest, hippest neighborhoods, it also saw plenty of openings this year. This list includes Lululemon and Requisite women’s clothing, plus restaurants Demi and Graze and North Loop Galley food hall. Floyd’s 99 Barbershop, Frgmnt coffee and One Fermentary & Taproom also debuted this year. 

J. Crew still has full-price stores in St. Paul and Rosedale and Southdale malls. Outlet stores are located in the Shoppes at Knollwood in St. Louis Park and Twin Cities Premium Outlets in Eagan. Locations closed in Mall of America and Maple Grove.

Target offers 10% off Target gift cards this Sunday, Dec. 8

Target shoppers who've gotten used to the annual 10% discount on its gift cards can look forward to the promotion again this Sunday, Dec. 8. It's the only discounter to offer such a deal. Walmart and Kmart have yet offer it. 

Some consumers questioned whether Target would offer the gift card discount this year after it dropped its 15% off site-wide Cyber Monday sale. Some analysts think that because Target has performed so well this year, it didn't need to offer the discount. 

The sale is offered in stores and on Target.com. A minimum of $10 and a maximum of $300 can be purchased. Last year consumers noted online that they were able to purchase more than $300 by paying with different credit cards or paying in cash. Redcard holders do not receive an addtional 5% discount if paying with a Redcard. Consumers wanting an additional perk can pay with a credit card that offers points or a 1% rebate. 

Discounted gift cards can be used starting Monday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. CST, according to a Target press release. 

The gift card promo can only be used to purchase Target gift cards, not other gift cards such as Target Visa, MasterCard, American Express or restaurant or retailer cards. Also, Target gift cards cannot be used as payment to buy other gift cards such as an Apple App Store & iTunes card.