Photo by Eliesa Johnson
January is never a tremendous month for shopping centers. It’s more about cleaning up, regrouping, and ideally, looking ahead to spring. So far, there are more departures than arrivals to report. Here’s the good, the depressing, and the curiosities.
Opening. Under Armour and JS Trunk & Co. are the year’s first new store announcements. Both the athletic brand and the specialty luggage store, a division of Samsonite, will open this spring at Mall of America. More details at Ali Shops Mall of America.
Moving. Rainforest Café is moving to the third floor at Mall of America and building a brand new restaurant next door to sister brand Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., due to open by fall 2015. Rainforest Café will close in its current spot on Jan. 18, leaving a prime corner near the southeast court. No announcement yet on a replacement, but it’s safe to assume something significant is in the works since the mall had been plotting on this move for some time. Dare we dream, Uniqlo? Zara?
Staying. Creative Kidstuff has extended its lease at Mall of America following a successful run as a holiday pop-up. The Minneapolis-based toy store will remain in its current spot next to Lego, on the first floor, south side, for at least six months. Ultimately, that space may be too large, says Creative Kidstuff sales and markting director Happi Olson. “We are working with the mall to find our perfect home.”
- Wet Seal abruptly closed 338 stores nationwide this month, including seven in Minnesota. The only remaining locations are at Mall of America and Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove.
- And that's not the only teen chain in trouble. A liquidation sale is wrapping up at Delias at MOA.
- Saks Off 5th will close its downtown Minneapolis store on Saturday. There's a new location at Twin Cites Premium Outlets in Eagan.
Ones to Watch.
- Galleria is in the unusual position of having a few open spots, with Arafina leaving and Pumpz old space still open next door. I’ve been told an announcement is coming soon.
- Shops at West End was just sold to American Realty Capital Retail Centers, so maybe we’ll finally see the remaining spaces get filled.
- Ridgedale Center. Oh, dear Ridgedale. We expected the store openings to come fast and furious after the announcement of Nordstrom, opening Oct. 2. That didn’t happen. But we have to think (hope?) they are about to ink some deals, since they not only have opening spots in the existing mall, but a new wing under construction as part of the Nordstrom expansion.