The Mall of America is launching a pop-up concept called “Debut” to showcase a rotating array of brands that officials say shoppers want and can’t readily find.
The 2,500-square-foot Debut will open Nov. 16 with nine brands each operating pop-ups: Woolrich, Askov Finlayson, Laurel Way by Pam Mondale, Billykirk, West Elm Local, Todd Snyder + Champion, Pomegranate, Shepherd of Sweden, and Fisher and Baker.
“It’s really a collection of pop-up shops under one roof, with one storefront. Each operator will have its own identity and signage,” Liz McLay, Mall of America’s senior vice president of leasing, told WWD.
Debut is getting a prime spot in the mall, right at the recently rebuilt north entrance, close to where Zara will be opening and near new Toms and Anthropologie stores and the JW Marriott hotel.
“It is important to note we are responding to requests of customers who have been looking for these brands,” McLay said. “The common thread is the fact that these brands have been highly requested and are also seeking opportunities in terms of debuting their brands.”
For some of the brands, Mall of America marks their first presence in a mall though they might have stores in other settings; others don’t have a brick-and-mortar presence at all but operate online, and still others have dabbled in pop-ups, McLay said.
It’s possible that some of the brands could wind up with regular stores in Mall of America, McLay acknowledged.
She explained that Debut will bring in new brands on a rotating basis. The first nine will be operating their pop-ups through the holiday season for a total of about six months, at which time they will be replaced by another group of brands operating pop-ups.
Asked if in the future, brands in the Debut space could turn over quicker, or if a single brand could occupy the entire space by itself, McLay didn’t discount the possibilities. “The Mall of America has been innovative and is very nimble. We will be refining the concept.”
According to mall officials, the Debut setting will have “high-end finishes and exclusive characteristics true to the current selection of featured brands while remaining inviting and warm.”
“Mall of America continually works to curate a unique and seamless customer experience,” McLay said. Debut “will feature a dynamic rotation of pop-up shops and conveniently allow guests to shop a variety of merchandise within a cohesive shopping experience.”
The 5.6 million-square-foot Mall of America, located in Bloomington, Minn., is considered the largest shopping and entertainment complex in North America. The center has more than 520 stores and restaurants as well as a Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park, the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, the FlyOver America 4-D immersive flight adventure, a Crayola Experience, Rainforest Care, the Hard Rock Café and Margaritaville.
The mall celebrates its 25th anniversary next year.