A milestone in the transformation of Ridgedale Center happens next week when Macy's consolidates the two stores it operates at the Minnetonka mall.

Macy's expects to close its men's and home annex next Thursday after transferring all the merchandise to the newly expanded, original store. The annex site is slated for a new Nordstrom.

The ongoing makeover at Ridgedale parallels efforts at other metro area retail centers to expand and improve what they have to offer. In recent years Southdale has gotten a face-lift, while the Mall of America plans a $1.5 billion expansion.

Ridgedale will add 80,000 square feet of retail space for new retailers as part of the Nordstrom buildout, but no tenants have been announced, said General Manager Joan Suko. The site plans show space for two restaurants. The mall also will embark on a complete interior upgrade.

Macy's crews began transferring merchandise from the men's and home and a few other departments Sunday. The completion of the 84,000-square-foot addition allowed the Cincinnati-based department store to start moving the merchandise.

Macy's, and predecessor Dayton's, have had a bifurcated presence at Ridgedale for nearly two decades.

In 1995 Dayton's enlarged its footprint in Ridgedale by moving the men's and home store into the space vacated by Carson Pirie Scott, which had closed all of its Twin Cities' department stores.

The size of the newly expanded Macy's is 290,000 square feet, smaller than the 337,000 square feet of the two separate stores. But Macy's executives say the expanded location isn't a downsizing of stocked items.

"The amount of square footage devoted to merchandise hasn't changed," said Scott Bartos vice president and store manager of Macy's Ridgedale store. "We were able to eliminate duplicate lunchrooms, stockrooms and loading docks."

Several departments, including cosmetics, men's, home, women's shoes and handbags will expand in the new store, although store reps wouldn't confirm the size of the increase. Other changes include a totally new Lakeshore Grill in a different location within the store, complete with an outdoor seating terrace. The Marketplace in the old annex also will move, so the expanded store will have a restaurant on each floor once the remodeling is complete in early September.

The entire store, being remodeled in stages, will be replete with neutral soft creams, grays and whites and all-new LED strip lighting with more windows than the original store.

"Women like to able to see the color of a handbag in natural lighting," said Macy's ­district Vice President Helen Eddy.

Taking a cue from Target, the remodeled store will feature more price-check scanners throughout the store that will allow shoppers to check "walk out the door" total prices, including stacked discounts from a Macy's credit card, for example.

Demolition will begin in April on the former Macy's space, Suko said. Once the building has been razed, construction will begin on the new Nordstrom.

The 138,000-square-foot store is expected to open in fall 2015. The luxury retailer's new store will be slightly smaller than its 210,000-square-foot Mall of America location, but Nordstrom spokesman Dan Evans said the new full-line store may seem even more spacious than the Mall of America store. "Our new store model is 124,000 to 142,000 square feet, but it seems larger because we've streamlined the backroom space," he said.

Ridgedale will now be anchored by Macy's, Sears, J.C. Penney and Nordstrom.

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633