Turns out, Twin Cities shoppers can go upscale.
On Friday, Nordstrom confirmed that it will open a second store in the Twin Cities at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka -- one of the metro's most-affluent suburbs.
The news comes after Neiman Marcus announced plans to shutter its downtown Minneapolis store come Jan. 31, and Bloomingdale's closed its Mall of America store last year, leaving some to speculate that the Twin Cities' Carhartt-wearing and Sorel-loving market won't support upscale retailers.
But Nordstrom's plans to open a second store in the Twin Cities by fall of 2015 -- as well as the Mall of America's push into luxury brands and the continued success of Edina's Galleria -- would seem to defy the retail stereotype.
"Our Mall of America store is one of our most successful stores, and we believe we can better serve our Minneapolis-St. Paul customers with a second location," said Erik Nordstrom, president of stores for the Seattle-based retailer. The company also operates two off-price Nordstrom Rack locations at the Bloomington megamall and at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove.
Nordstrom will occupy 138,000 square feet of what is now a Macy's men's and home store at Ridgedale. Cincinnati-based Macy's said earlier this week that it would close that store and consolidate it into a second store at Ridgedale that currently offers women's and children merchandise. The renovated Macy's store would also be expanded by another 84,000 square feet.
That means Ridgedale would have four distinct anchors -- Macy's, Nordstrom, Sears and J.C. Penney.
The Nordstrom news delighted Mavis McMillen, of St. Louis Park, who was shopping Friday at Ridgedale. "I think it's great. When I think of Nordstrom, I think of shoes," she said, noting the retailer's reputation for footwear. "I don't get to the Mall of America much; this mall is so much more convenient for me."
Nordstrom was one of the original anchor tenants when the Mall of America opened in 1992. "It's been a terrific store for us," said Colin Johnson, Nordstrom spokesman. Results from individual stores are not released.
The department store chain, which has 117 full-line stores nationwide, reportedly has been looking to expand here for some time -- a previous deal in 2009 to open a store at Ridgedale fizzled.
University of St. Thomas retail expert David Brennan said the megamall Nordstrom store likely does as well as Tysons Corner in northern Virginia, Michigan Avenue in Chicago and Southcoast Plaza in Southern California -- all iconic retail locations.
"A strong Ridgedale benefits not only Minnetonka, but also the entire metro region," said the city's community development director, Julie Wischnack. "The addition of another premier retail anchor and a planned renovation will help cement Ridgedale's role in this community and beyond."
Brennan says the "highest of the high-end" department stores, such as Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue (which closed in 2005 and converted to a Saks Off Fifth outlet in downtown Minneapolis), haven't appealed to enough shoppers in the Twin Cities to stay. "The sweet spot is Nordstrom, which has similar merchandise to the old Dayton's stores," said Brennan, co-director of St. Thomas' Institute for Retailing Excellence.
He said the addition of Nordstrom at Ridgedale will attract other higher-end specialty retailers to the mall. "The big loser here is Southdale," he added, largely because of its proximity to the upscale Galleria and the Mall of America, and the fact that it competes for some of the same tenants. (Southdale, the nation's first enclosed shopping mall in Edina, recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation and welcomed a gleaming new Herberger's department store.)
Ridgedale owner General Growth Properties, based in Chicago, has four other malls in Minnesota. CEO Sandeep Mathrani said in a statement that Ridgedale "is strongly positioned in the Minneapolis market, with a productive trade area and desirable merchandise mix." General Growth's own demographic data shows that Ridgedale's trade area is dominated largely by households earning more than $100,000 a year.
"The addition of this internationally known tenant at Ridgedale Mall will reposition the mall as a destination shopping center for the metro area," Wischnack said. "This, in turn, helps jump-start the city's vision for redevelopment of the Ridgedale area, which plans for a mix of shopping, residential and recreational uses that will ensure the mall's viability well into the future."
Janet Moore 612-673-7752