Frugality lives in mid-western economy

February 4, 2012 by  

A trend is becoming apparent in the Twin Cities area. Luxury retail stores are on the “out”. Those who cater to more frugal shoppers are “in”.

To St. Paul print companies, which work hand in hand with local retailers, the trend comes as a surprise as Twin Cities residents are known for their love of theater, concert halls and art galleries – cultural mainstays which rely on the print industry. However, it would appear consumers are “falling away” from luxury retail, according to Dave Brennan, marketing professor and Institute for Retail Excellence co-director at the University of St. Thomas.

Macy’s recently announced it will close its only Bloomingdale store in Minnesota, a 210,000 square foot monstrosity which is located in the high traffic Mall of America, just south of St. Paul . The company will also close three other U.S. locations as well as Macy’s locations across the country. Yet, the Sears store in the same mega mall is thriving; this, despite the recent announcement that 120 U.S. Sears stores will have to close. Bon Ton Stores are struggling across the country, except for those in Minnesota and Christopher & Banks are closing all over the U.S., but only one Minnesota location will lock its doors.

Saks Fifth Avenue converted its downtown Minneapolis store to an Off 5th Ave, a lower priced Saks cousin. It is no secret the downtown location of Neiman Marcus is struggling.

Brennan chalks it up to Minnesota shoppers being less “fashion forward” than their counterparts and supporters of “cheap chic” as made popular by Target stores, which are based in Minnesota.

In a tongue-in-check statement, Brennan said the Target brand promise “expect more pay less” could be the state motto.