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
The checkout line on Black Friday was steady inside the newly opened Toys ‘R’ Us at the Mall of America.

Budget-conscious consumers flock to deals — both online and in stores — over Black Friday weekend

Retailers hope that is a signal that people will come out for the rest of the season after Mall of America, other stores and online sites all saw robust traffic.
Shoppers bundled against the morning cold waited to enter the Mall of America on Black Friday.

Black Friday shoppers hit Twin Cities malls hunting for deep discounts

Retailers expected consumers to be choosier with their dollars to officially start the holiday shopping season.
A large crowd of Black Friday shoppers waited outside Mall of America’s north entrance for the doors to open at 7 a.m. Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 in Bloo

When you can shop on Thanksgiving, Black Friday

From grocery stores to malls, there are few options open on Turkey Day but plenty of extended hours Black Friday.
Target is conducting a test in select stores that involves restricting self-checkout lanes to those purchasing 10 or fewer items.

Target testing limit of 10 items at some stores' self-checkout kiosks

The Edina Target is one of the locations no longer allowing an unlimited number of items at kiosks where customers check out themselves.
Jane Burbank gets help last week from employee Chris Sanchez as she chooses a television at the Richfield Best Buy store. Best Buy CEO Corie Barry sai

Best Buy predicts ho-hum holiday sales

Best Buy saw comparable sales drop nearly 7% in the third quarter, and while it eked out better profits, it lowered its guidance for the crucial end of the year.
It was a busy afternoon last Sunday as fans watched the Vikings-Saints game at the Smack Shack bar at the Potluck food hall in Rosedale Center in Rose

The Twin Cities has too many malls. There's one key to survival.

Malls across the U.S. that are thriving are those with high-end retail stores and places for date nights or family fun.
Back-to-school and Halloween sales outperformed general sales during the third quarter. Pictured is the Target store in Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

Target stock surges after better-than-expected profits and a budget-friendly holiday plan

The Minneapolis-based retailer said consumers continue to be cautious with their dollars but did spend more on back-to-school and Halloween.
The new Toys ‘R’ Us store will be located on the eastern side of the Mall of America on the first level.

Toys 'R' Us returns with a store at Mall of America

The toy chain is set to open its second standalone brick-and-mortar store in the U.S. this week.
Nicole Leary of Edina took a photo of her daughter Sloane, right, and niece Teagan Swanson as they posed with a mannequin of Target mascot Bullseye du

Target, Best Buy are unexpected underdogs this holiday season

Both Minnesota companies report quarterly earnings in the next few weeks, and sales are expected to be down.
Charlie Youakim, chief executive of Sezzle, poses for a portrait in Sezzle’s downtown offices.

Buy-now-pay-later company Sezzle to delist from Australian stock market, concentrate on Nasdaq

The Minneapolis-based company says the move will simplify business and increase liquidity as it navigates through a busy holiday season.
Longtime shopper Sandy Solberg checked out the offerings last month at Resale Select thrift store.

How to thrift like a pro (even during the holidays)

Twin Cities thrift and vintage store managers offer tips on how to snag the best finds, and provide creative and bargain gifts for people on your list.
Members at Woodbury-based Anytime Fitness, with locations across the U.S. and Canada, will have free access to Apple’s virtual fitness and wellness

Anytime Fitness teams up with Apple Fitness+ for free memberships

It will be the first time Apple Fitness+ will have full integration of its content through another partner gym's virtual platform.
Best Buy virtual experts, shown in this online trailer, will be on hand for Best Buy’s first livestream shopping events.

Best Buy livestreams holiday sales events

Best Buy will host live video events on TalkShopLive on Nov. 1, 8 and 15.
Store manager Bill Holzmer demonstrated an inventory scan at Northern Tool and Equipment on Wednesday in Burnsville.

Is blaming crime the whole story behind retail 'shrink'? Experts say maybe not

External theft is just one part of a complicated loss equation for retailers as they work to reduce losses from operational errors while improving customer experience.
Brenda Lamb, owner of Candyland, mixed a fresh batch of caramel popcorn Oct. 20 in St. Paul. Lamb said her biggest challenge this holiday season is �

Twin Cities area retailers weigh shorter hours to cope with high labor costs this holiday season

Payroll costs have ballooned over the past year because of mandatory minimum wage hikes, benefits additions and increased wage competition.
Target announced the retirements of two long-held executives.

Target announces retirement plans for two long-tenured executives

Target has not said who will take on the role of chief operating officer for John Mulligan after he steps down in 2025.
Andrew Kropp checked his list as he stocked up on movies, among other items, shortly after Best Buy in Eden Prairie opened on Thanksgiving evening in

DVD, Blu-ray heading toward obsolete as Best Buy to stop selling movies next year

After the holidays, Best Buy customers won't be able to find DVDs and Blu-rays on the retailer's shelves or online.
Kristen Caffrey of St. Louis Park shopped with Madelyn, 4, and Emma, 19 months, at Legacy Toys inside Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka on Oct. 6. She sa

Small Minnesota retailers hope to lure budget-conscious shoppers with 'adventures'

U.S. holiday retail sales should increase as much as 4.6% and total as much as $1.56 trillion from November to January, according to a Deloitte study.
Best Buy announced it would start to sell the Dexcom G7 Continuous Glucose Monitoring System.

Best Buy Health expands into prescription diabetes medical tech sale and delivery

Best Buy is launching a new website for customers to order devices like glucose-monitoring machines.
Pedestrians and cyclists on Nicollet Mall in September.

What's next for Nicollet Mall? Downtown Minneapolis depends on its revitalization.

Nicollet Mall is again the epicenter of downtown's revitalization, with hybrid work having sapped foot traffic and pushing retail vacancy rates to about 39%.
After selling clothes and accessories she curated online for years, Shalawn Randall was able to realize her dream of opening her own store B’YOUtiq

Businesses call for Buy Black movement to evolve past 'virtue signaling' to lasting change

Black entrepreneurs and equity advocates in the Twin Cities sense much of the fervor around the "buy Black" movement has cooled, but progress is still possible.
Shoppers at Mall of America ahead of the 2011 holiday season.

We want to know: How do you plan to shop for the holidays this year?

Share your thoughts on holiday shopping this season with the Star Tribune.
Customers at the Target store in the East Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan last week.

Target's closings because of crime protect its profit, but at expense of communities

Retailers cutting their losses in big cities already facing post-pandemic challenges is yet another hurdle for major downtowns hoping to re-establish their vitality.
Best Buy is based in Richfield.

Best Buy reveals its holiday drops, offering electronic deals online

Mobile flash sales promise savings on limited gizmos during the highly promotional holiday season.
The Target store in East Harlem was the company’s first in Manhattan, opened in July 2010, but it will now close on Oct. 21, 2023 because of retail

Target will close 9 stores across 4 states because of theft, crime

The Minneapolis-based company will close locations in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Seattle, Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area effective Oct. 21.
A group of business owners, including developers behind the $30 million project to build an Asian grocery store and food hall inside the empty Gordman

Locals behind Afro Deli, Asia Mall as well as Chicago firm buy troubled Burnsville Center

The sale, which doesn't include the anchor stores, comes after city leaders had criticized its former owners for failing to maintain it.
Jewelry brand Kendra Scott will have dedicated displays in select Target stores.

Target to sell exclusive line of Kendra Scott jewelry, hoping to stoke fallen sales

The collection will include more than 200 pieces with prices starting at $15 and the majority of items under $40.
Geek Squad agent Michael Duvall educates Margaret, 89, of Moosic, Pa., about a wearable device that monitors vital signs. 

Best Buy Health shows first signs of success with Geek Squad helping at-home patients

The program with Pennsylvania-based Geisinger Health System has added some consistent demand beyond the volatile electronics market to Best Buy's bottom line.
Theodor Sebe of St. Louis Park stretched during a group SilverSneakers Yoga class Thursday at the Southdale YMCA in Edina.

Life Time limits gym access for Medicare seniors, prioritizing other members

Time restrictions — which the gym said health plans' discounted rates have driven — will apply only to seniors with access through their insurance.
Dale Schenian

Dale Schenian, 'larger than life' businessman and Canterbury Park co-founder, dies

Already a successful Twin Cities businessman when he joined the partnership that revived the Canterbury horse racing track, Schenian died on Aug. 25 at age 82.
New signage on the Best Buy Minnetonka store on July 27.

Best Buy preaches end in sight to electronics demand slump but still expects sales decline

Leaders of the Richfield-based chain said they expected comparable sales to drop 4.5% to 6% this fiscal year, revised from the prior guidance of a decline of 3% to 6%.
Manoj Bhargava spoke with ShopHQ (former iMedia) staff in Studio C of ShopHQ upon the announcement of his acquisition of the company on Wednesday.

New billionaire ShopHQ owner brings limited experience but lots of confidence to home shopping

The bankruptcy court-approved $55 million transaction opens a new chapter for the former iMedia channel.
Target Chief Food and Beverage Officer Rick Gomez talked in the grocery section of the Plymouth store during a tour in March 2023.

Target sales take a rare tumble after pulling of Pride products

That, combined with continued cost-cutting by shoppers, made for the first decline in comparable sales since spring 2017, although profit still jumped.
Pride month merchandise displayed at the front of a Target store in Hackensack, N.J., on May 24.

Sales dip expected after Target removed some Pride products

Many Wall Street analysts and investors think the controversy surrounding Target's Pride collection could have turned some consumers off from the Minneapolis retailer, denting traffic and sales numbers.
Laura Peterson helped her mom and dad, Linda and Doug Peterson, shop for a new microwave at the Best Buy Minnetonka store on July 27.

Best Buy at pivot point — will changes return chain to growth?

The Richfield retailer has adjusted its strategy for stores, workers and new products.
Shutterfly’s headquarters are in Redwood City, Calif. The company says it will close its Shakopee warehouse by June 2024 and lay off nearly 250 work

Shutterfly will close Shakopee warehouse, lay off nearly 250 workers

The digital photo company announced at the beginning of the year that it would cut about 100 employees at the facility as a cost-saving measure.
One of the recalled Target candles from the Threshold brand.

Target recalls millions of Threshold candles for second time amid reports of cuts, burns

Cracking glass holders have caused minor injuries.
Charlie Youakim, CEO of Sezzle, was photographed Tuesday in Sezzle’s new offices at the Dayton’s Project in downtown Minneapolis.

Minneapolis company Sezzle in a healthy spot as buy-now-pay-later options grow

Some consumers are choosing to make purchases in installments as they try to manage their budgets and avoid credit card interest.
Nikki Hager shops for her three school-aged children at Once Upon a Child on Wednesday, July 19 in Maplewood.

The hunt is on for back-to-school supplies as Minnesota parents search for savings

With inflation still high and a recession looming, many families could turn to Buy Nothing social media groups and secondhand options to find school supplies.
Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud is facing a lawsuit for falling behind on mortgage payments.

Lawsuit: St. Cloud mall owners haven't paid loan in nearly three years, owe $84 million

A subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp initiated foreclosure proceedings against the owners of Crossroads Center mall.
Andrew and Katie Beiswenger, who are 20 weeks along with their first daughter, tested rocking chairs at Baby Grand in St. Louis Park on June 28.

Twin Cities parents turn to local baby stores as big-box chains falter

As the future of Buy Buy Baby remains uncertain, local retailers offer the only places to try a range of baby merchandise.
IMedia, which runs ShopHQ and online sites, has filed for bankruptcy. Shown is its Eden Prairie studios.

Beleaguered iMedia files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

The company defaulted on a key loan and filed bankruptcy papers in Delaware.
The Mall of America has sued several tenants in the past few years for unpaid rent as some began to miss payments during the pandemic.

Mall of America evicts long-running tenant Dairy Queen for unpaid rent

Mall of America filed an eviction complaint stating the franchise had nearly $75,000 of unpaid rent since January of this year.
Pride month merchandise displayed at a Target store in Nashville.

Keith Ellison, other state AGs concerned with Target pulling Pride products

The AGs said Target's decision sends a message that "hateful and disruptive conduct can cause even large corporations to succumb to ... bullying."
Southdale Center will begin a renovation in late 2023.

Edina's Southdale Center will get a much-needed renovation later this year

The remodel will include the southeast portion of the mall where a Kowalski's grocery store will open soon.
A view of Target Field and the central business district from the 18th floor of the residential tower that is a component of the North Loop Green deve

Changing downtown Minneapolis is at a crossroads

Nearly a third of all downtown office space is dark, a rate not seen in decades and even outpacing the financial woes following the dot-com bubble and the Great Recession.
Longtime customer Kevin Cashman offered condolences on the closing of Hubert White to head tailor Dinh Nguyen, left, as Nguyen updated Cashman on the

Downtown Minneapolis retailer Hubert White to close

Owner Bob White is retiring and will shutter the 107-year-old family business located in the IDS Center along Nicollet Mall in August.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was joined at a news conference Tuesday by members of his newly formed “Vibrant Downtown Storefronts Workgroup” to an

Minneapolis floats new vision for downtown's Nicollet Mall

No buses and looser liquor rules were among the recommendations put forth by a task force of advisers that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey assembled.
Jacob Meister, an installer with Electro Signs, put the Trader Joe’s sign up at the store on South Washington Avenue to prepare for the 2018 opening

Downtown Minneapolis Trader Joe's accused of violating worker rights in federal complaint

Supervisors at the grocery chain allegedly took down union literature in the employee break room.
Lakeville man identified as victim of I-35 crash

Lakeville man identified as victim of I-35 crash

The man died after crashing south of Albert Lea.
This photo provided by the National Park Service shows a black bear caught in a natural area of the western Santa Monica Mountains in California in Ap

Woman injured in black bear attack in central Minnesota

A "bear swiped at her, striking her in several places," according to the Minnesota DNR.
Two dead in weekend motorcycle crashes

Two dead in weekend motorcycle crashes

The crashes occurred in Anoka and Freeborn counties on a traditionally big motorcycling weekend.
Televisions from various manufactures sit on display at Best Buy’s “experience store” in Minnetonka in March of 2023.

Best Buy's sales and profits continue to deteriorate amid electronics recession

Analysts and company leaders expected electronics to be a hard sell early this year but think a rebound could come within the year.
The Target store on Nicollet Mall displayed its 2016 collection of Pride merchandise.

Target pulls some of its Pride products after threats to store workers

The Minneapolis-based retailer is still selling swimwear made for the transgender community but is no longer selling products from a brand that critics say expresses "Satanist" views.
The former Sears department store building in St. Paul, Minn. on Monday, May 22, 2023. After four years of sitting empty, the St. Paul Sears store nea

Vacant Sears building near Capitol in St. Paul sells for $7 million

The former department store could be the site of several uses.
Target is recalling numerous scents of its Threshold candles.

Target recalls nearly 5M candles after reports of burns, cuts

Target received 137 reports of the candle jars breaking during use, which caused at least six injuries.
Linda Cao and Peter Bian, co-founders of Saturday Dumpling Co., assembled pork, shrimp and chive dumplings.

Saturday Dumpling Co. honors immigrant family's legacy, seals its Minneapolis success

Peter Bian, with wife Linda Cao, made his mother's authentic Chinese recipe into a sought-after Twin Cities dish.
Not only are more people turning to Walmart across the country as a way to save money, but it has also beat out local Twin Cities favorites for the co

While Target grapples with frugal consumers, Walmart thrives on its groceries

Walmart raised its predictions for the rest of the year as Target prepares for a decline.
Chief merchandising officer Jill Sando talked about the Target owned kids clothing brand Cat & Jack during a tour of the Target Store in Plymouth.

Cautious consumers flattening sales at big retailers, including Minneapolis' Target

Target beat Wall Street's expectations, but executives say shoppers are cutting back on splurges and focusing on essential goods.
In the intake sorting area, Luke Kragenbrink, an environmental health and safety specialist, looked at a portable record player that Repowered’s St.

Don't need that old iPhone? Offload tech using these tips

The Twin Cities offer several environmentally friendly ways to rid yourself of obsolete phones, laptops and other electronic devices.
Burnsville Center has struggled to fill empty store fronts for years, and now the mall is in the process of changing hands.

Burnsville Center, long plagued with empty storefronts, under contract for sale

The pending sale, plus a potential infusion of grant money from the city, could help revamp the languishing shopping complex.
Customers ordered a new appliance at Best Buy’s “experience store” March 2 in Minnetonka. The Richfield-based retailer is revamping its membersh

Best Buy's new membership program offers customer perks at three price points

The Richfield-based electronics retailer will offer such bonuses as free shipping and tech support, depending on membership level.
The recently closed Bed Bath & Beyond store in Rosedale Commons strip mall.

Big-box retail closures offer chance to fill scarce mall space

Several large stores closures in the Twin Cities — from Bed Bath & Beyond to David's Bridal — could free up storefronts in a retail market with few vacancies.
Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud is behind on mortgage payments, which could lead to foreclosure.

Fate of largest Minnesota mall outside metro unknown; owner in default of loan

The Crossroads Center in St. Cloud continues to operate despite its owners' struggles, but it could be put up at a foreclosure auction or sold.
In March, Life Time opened a 94,000-square-foot athletic country club in Irvine, Calif., one of 10 new centers it plans to open in 2023.

Life Time profits to start the year, continuing to build back after pandemic losses

Life Time reported profit of $27.5 million for the first three months of the year.
iMedia recently sold its headquarters as part of a sale-leaseback deal that generated $48 million.

iMedia moves to lower-tier Nasdaq Capital Market while trying to raise minimum bid

The company had fallen out of compliance with Nasdaq Global Market and was at risk of delisting.
Jacinto Garcia added to the fresh produce he’d already purchased from Mary Le at her stand on Nicollet Mall in 2019.

Nicollet Mall farmers market exits downtown Minneapolis

After more than 30 years, the Nicollet Mall farmers market is gone for good from the pedestrian corridor. But downtown leaders say there are plans to add more activities in its stead.
The David’s Bridal shop is shown Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, in Tampa, Fla.

David's Bridal will likely close all of its Minnesota stores amid bankruptcy

Layoffs and store closings are being reported across the country as the wedding-dress chain files for bankruptcy.
In 2015, there were fewer than 500 cottage food makers registered with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Last year, 7,300 businesses registered

How to turn your homemade food into a small Minnesota business

Revisions in state law allow entrepreneurs to make more money selling homemade food without a license.
Lt. Kenny McDonough handed a trading card of his explosive-sniffing dog Ellie to Charlotte Conlin, 6, and her mother, Jaclyn, while he was on patrol a

Minn. retailers balance security, customer comfort to curb crime

Stores including Target and Best Buy have strengthened safety measures but worry that might deter customers.
Richfield-based Best Buy has tested several different store formats as customer behavior has evolved, including more consumers buying products online.

Best Buy lays off hundreds, with plans to cut costs and emphasize online sales

In the past three years, Best Buy's employee numbers have declined by approximately 25,000 people or 20%.
Eyebobs’ newest store opened April 1 in the Rosedale Center mall in Roseville.

Minneapolis eyewear company Eyebobs sold to Cleveland-based private equity firm

Blue Point Capital Partners is the new owner of the company that focuses on cheap but stylish reading glasses.
Eden Prairie company iMedia completed the sale and leaseback of several of its buildings, including its ShopHQ offices.

Eden Prairie-based iMedia completes HQ sale-leaseback, still reports loss for 2022

The company is also still working on a plan to avoid delisting from the NASDAQ stock exchange for not meeting its minimum bid requirement of $1.
iMedia Brands is trying to close the sale-leaseback of its Eden Prairie headquarters.

iMedia, parent company of ShopHQ, delays earnings while grappling with potential Nasdaq delisting

The media company has scheduled its full-year and fourth-quarter earnings release for Wednesday.
Target Chief Food and Beverage Officer Rick Gomez discussed Easter treats from the Target-owned brand “Favorite Day” during a tour of the Target s

Target's not-so-secret weapon the past 40 years? Private labels

The Minneapolis retailer has the opportunity to expand its customer base as it leans into its more than 45 brands, retail experts say.