BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - Shoppers arrived to Bloomingdale's in the Mall of America Wednesday morning with the doors closed and a sign reading the store would open at noon instead of the normal 10 a.m.
That's because inside employees were getting word the store was closing.
"I'm really shocked. I'm really surprised because Bloomingdale's has been around forever," said shopper Sheryl Dwyer.
Shoppers were stunned after hearing one of the original tenants at the Mall of America announced it would close the store in mid-March.
A Bloomingdale's spokesperson told KARE 11 the store was closing because it was underperforming.
One hundred and twenty-seven people work there, but officials would not say how many would lose their jobs or would be transferred to other stores.
They say those who do lose their jobs will be offered a severance package.
"We're grateful for the 20 years we had with Bloomingdale's. It's been a great partnership and great relationship," said Dan Jasper, a Mall of America spokesperson.
The Mall of America made its own announcement Wednesday afternoon, saying the mall is close to signing a deal with four "fashion forward retailers" to fill the void.
"Three of them are brand new to the market. We're excited to bring new retail to this market place," said Jasper.
Officials say they will spend about $30-50 million renovating the southeast wing where Bloomingdale's is located, adding 90,000 square feet to the area.
It's news that is welcome to nearby stores who are concerned about Bloomingdale's departure.
"I'm hoping it doesn't drop our business much because we're right next to them pretty much. It's concerning," said Richard Varga who works at a kiosk nearby.
Mall officials say construction to the southeast wing will start as soon as February.
The mall says it will work with tenants to make sure construction is not disruptive but at least one store told KARE 11 he was worried this news may force him out.
Jasper would not say if Bloomingdale's departure would cost the megamall money, but said that mall attendance and sales were up in 2011.
Bloomingdale's, which opened with the rest of the Mall of America in 1992, is the first anchor store to close. The Mall of America location is the only Bloomingdale's in Minnesota.
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