It's definitely not new to Minnesota, or to the mall for that matter, but the Mall of America finally has something to help fill its not even half-full north wing: a bigger H&M.
The two-level, 40,000-square foot store is set to open this fall across from the two-level 30,000-square-foot Zara store that opened in the mall a little over a year ago.
With the two big heavy hitters next to one another, the north wing will become a destination for so-called "fast fashion." That's the term used to describe these retailers that have risen to prominence in the last decade, wreaking havoc on department stores in the process, with their formula of quickly copying the latest designs from the runways and offering them for low prices.
The expansion and relocation of H&M from its current location in the mall, where it takes up about 25,800 square feet in space, isn't exactly the luxury kind of retail the mall initially talked about filling the $325-million addition with when it first opened in 2015. The wing also features an office tower, J.W. Marriot, and a smattering of shops such as Anthropologie and a third-floor food court with a Shake Shack.
The mall's efforts to lease the north wing has hit some road bumps in recent years as many retailers have slowed down their expansion plans as they grapple with the rising popularity of online shopping. So the mall used some of the empty space to house a media center during the Super Bowl.
And plans for adding more luxury retailers to the mall's lineup now seem to be more focused instead on another new addition, which remains on the drawing board despite initial plans to have it open as year as this fall.
H&M has about six other locations around the Twin Cities and 525 stores across the U.S., not to mention 4,700 worldwide. The new Mall of America store will carry the same assortment as before as well as bigger kids and mens' departments.
The Swedish retailer found itself in the headlines this week when its latest quarterly report revealed it had a $4.3 billion of unsold inventory on hand that it would have to mark down. The disclosure led its stock to tumble and for questions to begin circulating about whether the heyday of fast-fashion is coming to an end as consumers move on to more quality-focused retail concepts.
H&M also suffered backlash after it ran an ad earlier this year showing a black child wearing a sweatshirt that said, "Coolest monkey in the jungle."