Twin Cities Premium Outlets Could Give Other Outlets Run for Their Money

Updated: 08/15/2014 6:06 AM
Created: 08/14/2014 7:54 PM
By: Jennifer Ann Wilson

Big crowds at the grand opening of Twin Cities Premium Outlets made it clear shoppers are happy about the new stores in the metro.

Even Mall of America seemed un-phased, saying in a statement that competition is a good thing.

Economic experts say an outlet mall in a metro area is rare, and the jury is still out on how it'll perform.

"I view this as kind of like an experiment," said Dr. David Vang, economist and professor at the University of St. Thomas.

Thousands of people were happy to be the guinea pigs to shop.

"Baby's first trip to the outlet mall and he loves it," said shopper Rebekah Gran, with her credit cards at the ready.

"It's a lot bigger than I expected. They have a lot of cool stores here," said another shopper, Emily Wagner.

And that could be a problem. There are more than 100 stores, some of which are the outlet version of stores also found in the Mall of America.

"We're right by the Mall of America, so you can get what you need without being at the big mall," said shopper Dawn Murray.

"Yeah, I'm sure there is some cannibalization that’s going to take place," said Dr. Vang.

But, on the other hand, the outlets could attract more people to both malls.

"I would assume they'd probably do something in the order of let's go to the Mall of America first and then go to the outlet stores and vice versa," Dr. Vang said. He adds that could benefit other businesses like restaurants, if shoppers stay in the area longer to shop at both malls.

Gail Jungers loves the new outlet mall. "We'll be here, but we go to the Mall of America on a regular basis too, so we won't stop that."

Other outlet malls on the outskirts of the cities could take a hit now that the outlet mall is open in Eagan.

"It's very similar to Albertville. I think it'll do good business being centrally located," said shopper Joan Strom.

"Albertville...we won't be going there anymore. We will be coming here. Or Medford...we won't go to Medford because this has everything those all have, no need to drive down there," said shopper Lowell Jungers.

Dr. Vang says it's too soon to tell what the impact will be.

"I think a lot of people are going to be sitting on the sidelines waiting to see how this was going to go," he said.

Eagan police say they were prepared for traffic delays during the grand opening, but everything seemed to run smoothly. As of 2 p.m., police say 11,000 cars visited the outlets.

Grand opening events continue through the weekend.

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