Staff Directory 6370611

Nicole Norfleet

Retail Reporter | Retail
Phone: 612-673-4495

Nicole Norfleet covers the fast-paced retail scene including industry giants Target and Best Buy. She previously covered commercial real estate and professional services.

Norfleet joined the Star Tribune's business team in the winter of 2015 after working as the St. Paul public safety reporter and holding various other metro assignments. She is originally from the East Coast, but now calls the East Side of St. Paul home. Norfleet and her partner Liz have one tabby son named Max and enjoy craft beer, Korean dramas and camping with family. She is a proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Recent content from Nicole Norfleet
Target’s latest quarterly profit missed expectations as the company absorbed higher costs.

After prospering in pandemic, Target now feels inflation's toll

Following disappointing results on Wednesday, the Minneapolis retailer endured the biggest single-day drop in its stock price since the 1987 market crash.
Bob Dittel of Car Buyer’s Advocate helped Talin Prescott, 22, of Plymouth examine a car earlier this month.

Professional Minnesota car shoppers offer tips for buying at worst possible time

With prices high and inventory low, people who need to buy cars now are in a bad spot.
Best Buy has begun to sell a range of skincare products.

Best Buy branches into skincare products, as technology moves into new markets

Best Buy executives see new product categories like health, e-transportation and outdoor living as smart investments.
Cara Sylvester, Target’s top marketer

Target's top marketer takes on customer service role; CEO taps other execs for changes

Cara Sylvester will take a new role as chief guest experience officer.
Shoppers at Rosedale Center last week. The mall is one of five in the Twin Cities that are now seeing shopper traffic at or near pre-pandemic levels.

Nation's return to in-store shopping is clear at largest Twin Cities malls

So far this year, foot traffic at some of the most popular metro malls is up. Several are now doing better than they were at this time in 2019.
Target paid $5 million to settle a lawsuit in California that accused it of misleading customers when prices changed on its mobile app.

Target pays $5M to settle pricing accuracy allegations

The San Diego County District Attorney's Office accused the retailer of using geofencing technology to raise prices when customers entered stores.
Workers at a Starbucks in St. Paul are the first of the Minnesota’s locations to vote to unionize.

St. Paul Starbucks the first in Minnesota to vote to unionize

Workers at a handful of Starbucks in Minnesota have pushed for unions.
David Kornberg has served as the CEO of Maurices for the last year after previously heading mall retailer Express.

With help from new CEO, Maurices works to expand store footprint, products and brand awareness

In his first year as Maurices' CEO, David Kornberg has helped push the retailer to add more products such as a new girls line and has plans to continue to grow the company's store footprint.
Best Buy launches pick-up service for recycling major appliances, electronics.

Best Buy starts $200 service for picking up used appliances, electronics

Customers can now pay for the retailer to haul their old electronics from home and recycle them.
Target created “flex floors” at its Minneapolis headquarters, shown here, and offices in Brooklyn Park and Eagan for employees who don’t want to

Target goes hybrid for good, won't require workers in Twin Cities offices

The largest employer in downtown Minneapolis will let work teams and individuals decide when to be in the office.
Minnesota legislators are pondering bills that would create stiffer penalties for organized retail crime, seeking to end thefts by people who aim to r

Lawmakers consider tougher penalties on organized retail crime

Measures in the House and Senate would lead to penalties greater than that of general theft. Retailers push Congress for greater disclosure by online retailers on sources for goods.
Pickle ball is a new area of focus for Life Time. The nation’s No. 2 fitness company is regaining its muscle after being forced to close most of its

How Minnesota-based fitness chain Life Time is getting back into shape

After a difficult two years of falling profits related to the pandemic, Life Time Group Holdings is preparing for a comeback year.
Best Buy has announced its back-to-office plan.

Best Buy will start hybrid work at corporate campus week of April 18

Most employees will work three days a week at the Richfield offices.
A Target store in Vista, Calif., features thousands of solar panels on its roof and on carports in the parking lot.

Target embraces solar panels, with California store its first 'net zero' building

The Vista, Calif., remodel will produce 10% more power than the store needs, Target says, and is a test for innovation in the sustainability area.
The new Dick’s Sporting Goods store at Ridgedale Center will include a 20,000-square-foot outdoor turf field and running track.

Dick's Sporting Goods to open experiential retail store at Ridgedale Center

The sporting goods store is slated to open in the anchor spot held by Sears this spring.
Early signs have been put up announcing the Asian grocery store and food hall slated to open in the former Gordman’s at Burnsville Center.

Ideas form to bring back Burnsville Center, the emptiest mall in the Twin Cities

A new food hall and an Asian grocery store are in the works.
Target’s grocery business roared upward during the pandemic and accounted for about one-fifth of its revenue last year.

Target's Gomez: Multiyear grocery strategy delivers credibility, results

A year after he took the reins leading Target's food and beverage business, Rick Gomez shares his thoughts on affordability, inclusion and what sets Target apart from other stores.
Burt’s Bees lip balms will qualify under Target’s new sustainability packaging program, called Target Zero.

Target to feature Target Zero products aimed at reducing waste

Customers will be able to spot Target Zero items with the help of an icon.
Best Buy is dropping mask requirements for employees at its stores. File photo of a Best Buy store in Eagan.

Best Buy will no longer require employees to wear masks

Best Buy is the latest retailer to roll back its mask rules.
Customers consulted with Geek Squad specialists at the Best Buy store in Eagan on Thursday, March 3. The Richfield retailer is entering a challenging

Best Buy prepares for a challenging 2022, expects growth after that

Executives at the Richfield-based electronics retailer forecast a drop in sales and profits this year.
Part of Target’s growth plans include more Ulta Beauty shop-in-shops like this one that opened at a store in Edina last summer.

With Target's rocket growth ending, execs plan the future in a new orbit

The company's shares rose 10% as leaders outlined new ideas for Target to capitalize on its pandemic growth.
James Hurley

James Hurley, a basketball and business trailblazer, dies at 76

Hurley helped integrate schools and basketball programs and was a Black leader at Procter & Gamble Co.
Target has increased its higher education benefits. Shown is a store in Annapolis, Md.

Target increasing its starting wage range to as much as $24 per hour

Target's higher wages and new benefits are expected to cost the company about $300 million.
Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Shipt has tripled its network of independent shoppers to 300,000.

Shipt expands to Walgreens and 7-Eleven

The addition increases the number of stores for Shipt's same-day delivery service by more than 40%.
FILE - In this April 6, 2020 file photo, a customer wearing a mask carries his purchases as he leaves a Target store during the coronavirus pandemic,

Target is no longer requiring masks at its stores

The retailer is no longer requiring masks regardless of vaccination status.
Target will soon allow customers in the Twin Cities and other markets to return goods from their vehicles.

Target to accept drive-up returns in Twin Cities, other test markets

The service will begin this fall at certain stores. Target will also let customers order Starbucks drinks at the drive-up.
With food and other prices soaring the most in four decades, Shirley Hatfield says she’s watching her spending more than she ever did before the pan

As pandemic wanes, inflation changes lives of Minnesotans

The jump in consumer goods prices is forcing people to make huge adjustments — two years after the onset of the pandemic did: "We've had two years of uncertainty, loss, anxiety and fear and now inflation, too."
Workers at two Minnesota Starbucks locations are joining a budding national movement to unionize.

Workers at two Starbucks in the Twin Cities push for unionization

The local push is part of a budding effort nationally to unionize the coffee chain.
Haley Nelson, a food blogger in St. Paul, says it’s not the time to wing it in the grocery store. Food prices rose 6.5% last year, far above the 1.5

How to lower your grocery costs when prices are soaring

Even with high inflation, there are plenty of ways to save money on your next trip to the grocer.
A model wears a Love Your Melon beanie.

Love Your Melon, popular Minneapolis maker of hats and beanies, bought by NY firm

Win Brands Group said it was buying company after raising $40 million in new capital.
Kamau Witherspoon

Target exec chosen as new CEO of Shipt

Kamau Witherspoon, who has worked as a leader in Target's operations, will succeed Kelly Caruso in March.
Freelance stylist Caitlin WIlson pulls clothing products during the production of a live Christopher & Banks ShopHQ show at the iMedia studios in Eden

After bankruptcy, Christopher & Banks returns as a retail presence on TV and online

The Minnesota-based women's apparel brand is now operated by iMedia Brands, which also owns Eden Prairie-based TV and digital shopping network ShopHQ.
Betty and Don Cooke of Minnetonka watched a men’s basketball game between the Minnesota Gophers and Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday at Williams

As omicron surged, Minnesotans adjusted quickly, kept going out

Crowds didn't shrink at public events as much, and businesses didn't see as much of a drop as in previous COVID-19 waves.
Alex Sackett shops in the L.L.Bean store in the Mall of America in Bloomington. This holiday season the Mall of America debuted an online shopping fea

With little fanfare, Mall of America jumps into e-commerce

The mall launched an online platform that offers goods that its retailers have in stock in one order for pick-up or delivery.
Target CEO Brian Cornell, photographed at Target’s Minneapolis headquarters, will receive the visionary award from the National Retail Federation.

Target CEO Brian Cornell says there's no off season in retail

Cornell sat down with the Star Tribune as he gears up for a keynote speech in receiving the visionary award from the National Retail Federation.
Target started a new store brand, called Brightroom, of home storage and organization goods.

Target launches home organization brand Brightroom

This week Target has introduced its newest brand Brightroom.
Best Buy is expanding the role of its in-house advertising unit.

Best Buy expands its in-house advertising agency to better work with other companies

The company is turning its stores, websites and apps into advertising vehicles that makers of consumer goods can use.
Julie Hansen and her son Elijah walked through Ridgedale Center with Christmas gifts purchased online to make an in-store return on Monday in Minneton

There was one more rush in Minnesota stores last week — to return things

Around 13% of holiday sales are returned, and retailers see a chance to make another sale.
Luis Juncal loaded his truck at the Amazon distribution center in Maple Grove on Wednesday. This week is the busiest of the holiday mailing and shoppi

As holiday deliveries peak, carriers and trucks fill Minnesota neighborhoods

Parcel carriers are in the middle of their busiest week, and Wednesday was considered the last day to make Christmas orders by regular delivery.
Mahogany Ellis-Crutchfield greeted customers at GiftyWrap last Sunday in her pop-up space on the first floor makers market at Dayton’s Project in do

Small Minnesota retailers face 'compounded' problems amid holiday crush

GiftyWrap and other retail companies are juggling a labor shortage, supply issues and more this holiday.
Amazon’s fulfillment center in Shakopee.

Report: Amazon facilities in Minn. have high rate of injuries, pay inequities

A new report by the National Employment Law Project and Awood Center urges investigations by state authorities and more involvement by lawmakers in protecting warehouse workers.
A Best Buy storefront.

Maplewood police have ID'd suspects in Black Friday Best Buy thefts

Police launched investigations after groups of people stole high-end items during store hours at three Twin Cities Best Buy locations last week.
Kelly Caruso, chief executive of Shipt

With staggering growth behind it, Target's Shipt delivery business faces a now-what moment

Target's grocery-delivery business quadrupled its volume at the height of the pandemic. Its growth is still solid, but competition is fierce.
Shoppers enter the Best Buy store at 5 a.m., looking for Black Friday deals Friday in Maplewood.

Thieves swarm Best Buy stores in Burnsville, Maplewood on Black Friday

Police said no arrests had been made.
Santa and his elves greet Black Friday shoppers at the Mall of America’s North entrance Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Bloomington.

Black Friday brings out deal-seeking Minnesotans

Shoppers found deals, and even crowds in some places, as they tackled their holiday lists. The action yielded insights on how Minnesotans feel about the economy and the pandemic.
Best Buy latest quarterly sales surpassed the blockbuster gains it made during the pandemic a year ago.

With purchase of Yardbird, Best Buy seeks a bigger role in outdoor entertaining

The electronics retailer built on record year-ago sales growth this fall, but execs see some near-term pressures.
Katie Bergeland, right, a sales associate at the Slumberland Furniture store in Woodbury, helped Dave Thomas of Prescott, Wisc, as he shopped during t

Shoppers fill Minnesota stores as a pivotal moment in the retail recovery arrives

The mood is mixed as more potential buyers head into stores than last year. But a leading survey showed holiday spending won't change much.
Artist Colleen O’Connor, shown with a paint swatch in her St. Paul studio, broadened her offerings of at-home projects.

Minnesotans had to get creative to save their small businesses

When the pandemic hit, many small business owners had to create their own opportunities: "They've really been remarkably resilient."
Brian White Sr., shown with customer Adrienne Woodward at his St. Paul shop, worked as a chef for about 35 years before starting the eatery.

Black-owned ice cream shop in historic Rondo neighborhood doles out smiles in troubled times

St. Paul's 2 Scoops offers a sweet respite from the world's bitter realities.
Sheila Nelson decorated a cake at her Vegan East bakery in White Bear Lake. She said the pandemic allowed her to rethink “what we were doing and als

How pandemic saved Twin Cities vegan bakery owner's life

Owner Sheila Nelson learned to balance her bakeries and her personal life.
Target’s profit rose 47% in its fiscal third quarter, beating analysts expectations, and executives raised their outlook as the busy holiday period

Target traffic continues to increase as execs raise outlook, says it's ready for holidays

Target appears to have managed supply-chain constraints that have affected many industries this year.
File photo: Shoppers browse the aisles during a Black Friday sale at a Target store in 2018.

Survey: Minnesotans, how do you plan to shop on Black Friday?

The Star Tribune wants to know how readers plan to shop this holiday season.
Murphy Cannon, left, and Abraham Alrai checked out some possible gifts at Games by James at Rosedale Center last week.

Twin Cities retailers see hopeful signs shoppers are 'eager' to visit

Rising foot traffic numbers and optimistic holiday spending estimates have local retailers hoping people are eager to visit stores in person again.
Margot Wanner and her daughter Eliza, 9, checked out toys Thursday to add to a wish list during an afternoon trip to Kiddywampus.

Twin Cities stores ready for influx of early shoppers

"We're not dealing with a normal year."
Then St. Paul Schools Superintendent Curman Gaines, seen in 1998.

Curman Gaines, former St. Paul Public Schools superintendent, dies at 81

Curman Gaines wanted each student who attended a St. Paul public school to succeed no matter their race or socioeconomic background.Gaines, the first person of…
The Walmart in Bloomington was busy on Black Friday last year.

Best Buy, Target will offer early holiday sales, close on Thanksgiving

Supply chain worries have consumers shopping earlier.
A commuter waits for a bus by Target’s corporate headquarters along South 11th Street in March.

Target to invest $100 million in Black-led organizations

The new announcement adds to the retailer's earlier funding initiatives toward social justice and racial equity.
Best Buy has signed an agreement to buy a health technology firm in the United Kingdom. Shown is a store in Arlington Heights, Ill.

Best Buy to purchase U.K. technology platform Current Health

The acquisition follows other large investments the electronics retailer has made in telehealth.
Albuquerque attorney Matthew Vance, also a court-appointed guardian, says the client-guardian dynamic can be fraught.

Guardians protect financial future of accident victims

In Minnesota, judges routinely approve the sale of payouts. In Albuquerque, N.M., guardians often put on the brakes, and help victims keep more of their money.
Evereve has opened a new flagship store at 50th and France with double the sales space.

Retail trends evident in new Evereve flagship store in Edina

The new space in the 50th and France shopping district has more ways to help customers connect in-person and online.
Sandra Ocampo of Maplewood, with her daughter Sandy, 2, at the Eagan Best Buy.

Best Buy rolls out new tech support membership nationally

After beta testing the service, the retailer is rolling out the membership nationally ahead of the holidays.
Photo provided by Market Wagon

Market Wagon brings Twin Cities farmers market groceries to customers' doors

E-commerce company adds the metro to its growing list of markets.
Steve Matiatos in the basement apartment at his cousin’s house, where he’s living rent free in exchange for doing work around the house and dog si

Accident victims surrender millions to a relentless industry

They suffered tragic, disabling injuries, and the large legal settlements were meant to provide them with a steady income for decades. Then an obscure niche of the financial industry came calling — wanting to cash in.
James Taylor thanked Elizabeth Nevitt, the attorney representing Peachtree Settlement Funding, after a hearing in August in which Judge Tammy Jo Hock

These Minnesotans suffered catastrophic accidents. Now some say they are left with nothing

Hundreds of Minnesotans have sold future portions of their long-term legal settlements at a discount for cash upfront. These six stories explore the aftermath.
Dan Marshall, co-owner of Mischief toy store on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, started preparing for the 2021 Christmas season in the spring when he star

Supply chain disruptions force retailers to stock up early for holidays

Large retailers like Minneapolis-based Target have begun to take drastic measures to fulfill customer's holiday shopping lists. Consumers will likely need to shop early for gifts, experts say.
Stop N Shop Store, destroyed by fire during the rioting following the killing of George Floyd in 2020, has been rebuilt and reopened on Tuesday.

'Welcome back': Last original tenant reopens in strip mall off Lake Street

The Stop N Shop convenience store and gas station reopened after it sustained more than $1 million in damage during riots after the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020.
Target CIO Mike McNamara, speaking at a 2018 Demo Day kickoff, plans to retire next year.

Q&A: Retiring Target chief information officer talks tech during pandemic

Target CIO Mike McNamara has remade the retailer's technology team: only 7% of work is now outsourced, compared with 70% when he took the helm.
Shipt delivery company will partner with Visa to offer free deliveries to its users.

Shipt offers free trials for Visa credit card holders

Depending on the level of card, holders get from one month to up to three years of free Shipt membership.
Two Amazon employees sort packages at an Amazon facility. Amazon shoppers have spent less per order during the first 32 hours of the annual Prime Day

Amazon seeks to hire 2,700 Twin Cities employees as retailers fight to add jobs ahead of the holidays

With the busy holiday season approaching, Amazon, Walmart and others are adding hiring incentives to bulk up their ranks to meet high demand for online shopping and home delivery.
A canvas tote offered by Target to celebrate Latino Heritage Month.

Target launches first-ever product assortment for Latino Heritage Month

The collection includes apparel, stationery, books and more.
A rendering of the proposed water park beside the Mall of America.

Bloomington to research private financing, nonprofit model for $260M water park at MOA

City officials said they would like to study the feasibility of several options for how to fund the creation of the water park at the Mall of America.
Anita Brands shopped the Target Midway store for a Shipt client.

Target-owned Shipt delivery service expands potential reach to 2M more households

The grocery delivery service says it is the largest national expansion in three years, organized around its store partners.
A rendering by RSP architects and Kraus-Anderson of Hy-Vee’s proposed liquor store submitted to the city of Bloomington.

Hy-Vee grocery, liquor store planned for Bloomington's Southtown

The redevelopment would require the demolition of several buildings including the Herberger's.
Food delivery drivers waited behind a designated low-contact window at Quang Restaurant in Minneapolis on Aug. 28.

Worker shortages, higher food prices rattle Minn. restaurants

While the creativity has driven what could be permanent changes in the industry, it has not saved many. More than half believe they could be in financial collapse or insolvency in the next six months to a year.
Best Busy has dramatically expanded its selection of e-transportation products, and it’s the first time services for the devices will also be availa

Best Buy powers up its e-transportation selection

The electronics retailer has expanded to a full selection of e-transportation devices including scooters, mopeds and e-bikes.