The Williams-Sonoma store at Mall of America is closing, yet another sign that home stores have not been a great fit at the Bloomington megamall.
The impending store closure comes five months after a sparkling new 5,300-square-foot Williams-Sonoma store, along with a 12,500-square-foot Pottery Barn, opened at Ridgedale Center in Minnetonka.
The Mall of America lost its Pottery Barn store more than a decade ago, as well as other concepts that disappeared nationwide such as Eddie Bauer Home and Linens N’ Things. And even though appliances are a growing category for the company, Best Buy does not sell refrigerators or washing machines at its Mall of America store.
Other major destination shops in the home space such as Crate & Barrel and Restoration Hardware have their only Twin Cities location at the Galleria in Edina. A West Elm store is just down the road from there.
“It’s one of those categories that just doesn’t seem to click for them,” said Sandy Stein, a Twin Cities-based retail consultant. “The Mall of America has always had a little bit of a problem with that shopping mentality.”
One factor, he said, is that the mall attracts a lot of tourists who might not be as interested in making bulky or delicate purchases while on a trip. The mall’s vast size also could be a hurdle, with many shoppers preferring regional shopping malls where the parking lots are closer by to haul out large items.
“How do you get the stuff out?” Stein said. “At the same time, you have an effective Ikea store across the street [from Mall of America] that does very well.”
The Ikea store, though, has its own parking area, and you can pull right up to the door.
Mall of America’s leasing team had hoped to populate the new north addition with some home-furnishings stores, noting that was a category the mall currently lacked.
While that space has not yet been fully leased out, thus far it has mostly eateries and apparel stores such as Zara and Toms shoes.
But it has made a couple of smaller inroads into the home space.
A 10,000-square-foot flagship Anthropologie store, which sells home-decor items, opened in the expansion earlier this year. It also has a small West Elm Local presence as part of its new Debut store, which includes mini-shops from a number of boutique-oriented brands and retailers.
“Throughout 2016, Mall of America opened more than 20 new retailers, restaurants and attractions — the majority of which are first-to-market concepts [most recently Zara, Tory Sport, Altar’d State, and Shake Shack],” mall officials said in a statement. “We look forward to that momentum carrying into 2017 when we welcome even more unique concepts to our unparalleled retail, dining and attraction mix at Mall of America.”
Williams-Sonoma did not respond to multiple requests for comment. A manager at the Mall of America store confirmed that the store was closing, probably after the holidays, but would not give a date. Aside from the Ridgedale store, the chain also has locations at the Galleria, Rosedale Center and the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes.
Its sister brand, Pottery Barn, also has four locations in the Twin Cities.