BLOOMINGTON - A janitor spots an abandoned diaper bag lying on a table in the sprawling food court at the Mall of America. A bomb-sniffing dog and a security officer are there within minutes, examining the package while nearby shoppers are held a safe distance away.No bomb. Case closed. But that scene is repeated at the nation's largest shopping center 150 times a month.
The leaves are still falling amid summer temperatures but the minds of many retailers are on the oh-so-important-to-the-bottom-line holiday shopping season.All right, so Halloween and Thanksgiving are first, but you know as soon as those fright night decorations are cold - say Nov. 1 - it's trees, lights and shopping action. The International Council of Shopping Centers recently forecast U.S. holiday sales in 2011 will post a "moderate gain though somewhat subdued relative to its prior year's pace."
BAXTER - A revitalized mall with two new stores, an increased tax base, new theater and more jobs is the vision of the new ownership. Alan Retkinski and Alex Schleider, who formed Westgate Mall Realty Group, recently purchased the mall for $6.8 million from DDR Corp. They met with city officials Tuesday night detailing their plans for the mall, which crosses the city limits of both Brainerd and Baxter.
NEW YORK - Consumers went on a buying frenzy in the nation's stores over the weekend, but scaled back their spending online, fearing their gifts wouldn't arrive in time for Christmas.
...malls are up a strong 6.6 percent from the day after Thanksgiving through Sunday, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group. On the Internet, growth -- as expected -- is even bigger. Online market research...
...You are going to see big-time promotions," said John Konarski, vice president of research at the International Council of Shopping Centers. "It is sort of a cat-and-mouse game. Consumers are holding out for the big deals, and retailers...
WASHINGTON - While shoppers headed out Tuesday to shop for post-holiday bargains, major retail chains began reporting that December sales will fall below their projections.
Western Products is moving into the former sports shop that later housed a bakery along Edgewood Drive in Baxter.
BLOOMINGTON - Speaking in the hushed tones common to medical waiting rooms, receptionist Juli Velebir was struggling to sum up just what it is that makes the Mall of America such a dumbfounding and fascinating quirk of modern culture. Then she smiled and nodded.
Electronics remain strong, but this season shoppers may be looking for an old-fashioned Christmas.
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