Mall of America will soon have another off-price concept joining Nordstrom Rack and Marshalls. Macy's Backstage, the department store's nod to an outlet, will open in the MOA Macy's on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. 

It will be the Twin Cities' second Backstage, with the first opening in March in Maplewood Mall. That one takes up 18,500 square feet on the first floor of the department store. The new Backstage will take up 11,600 square feet on the 3rd floor of Macy's where bedding and bath accessories used to be, just two doors down from Nordstrom Rack. A third Backstage opened in Apache Mall in Rochester in June. 

"Mall of America, like all of our Backstage stores, was chosen based on the location, what surrounds the location, customer mix and local buying habits," said Macy's spokeswoman Emily Workman. 

Referred to by Macy's as an off-price concept or outlet, the merchandise in Backstage isn't from the department store's clearance merchandise already marked down. The department has its own buyers and everything is purchased exclusively for Backstage. Most of the brands and items are not sold in other Macy's departments.

Retailers discovered long ago that they can make more profit by making "special purchases" with "compare at" pricing. For example, a shirt priced at $30 might be marked "compare at $58." even though it may never have been on the shelf at the higher price. About 85 percent of the merchandise at a Nordstrom Rack is made specifically for the outlet. 

Prices on Backstage merchandise are typically marked at a 50 percent discount from the "compare at" or manufacturer's suggested retail price. Besides apparel for women (including sizes 1X-3X), men and children, merchandise includes toys, kids shoes, gourmet packaged foods, pet accessories and small electrics. New merchandise comes in daily, including fast fashion  

The new department will not take away the popular Last Act clearance sections in apparel, accessories and shoes. The department has its own dressing rooms and cashier station. The bedding and bath department has been downsized a bit, but moved closer to the entrance.

Grand opening activities on Aug. 18 will include scratch off gift cards worth $5 to $25 for the first 200 customers. When the Mall of America location opens, it will be the department store's 139th Backstage. By the end of the year, Macy's will have opened 100 Backstage stores. 

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