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Macy's on Nicollet Mall appears safe as company plans redevelopment

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The Macy's building in downtown Minneapolis has housed a department store for more than 100 years. Despite recent worries that those days might be numbered, the company has sent some very clear signals that the store will be around a while longer.

Macy's announced Wednesday that it's looking for partners to redevelop the mammoth building, which takes up an entire block along Nicollet Mall.

The building was originally the flagship store of the Dayton's department store chain. As the company changed hands it became a Marshall Field's, and now it's Macy's.

But ever since it laid off some 950 corporate employees in 2009, Macy's is only using about half the building right now.

And some – including Star Tribune columnist Rick Nelson – worried out loud that the retail chain would close the store altogether, as it has done recently with other downtown locations in St. Paul and Pittsburgh.

So it came as a relief to some to hear Macy's say it's looking at ways to redevelop the unused space.

"The company has begun a process to explore joint ventures or other deal structures with third parties to redevelop Macy’s flagship real estate assets in Manhattan (Herald Square), San Francisco (Union Square), Chicago (State Street) and Minneapolis (downtown Nicollet Mall) in a manner that maintains a robust Macy’s retail store presence while also bringing alternative use into those buildings."

It's worth noting that Macy's has included the Nicollet Mall building in the category of its "flagship assets," along with the original Macy's flagship in Manhattan, notes blogger Bob Collins of MPR News.

The real estate news came as Macy's announced disappointing third-quarter results. Profits during the quarter were 56 cents per share, compared to 61 cents a year ago. Revenue also fell, from $6.2 billion last year to $5.9 billion this year.

“We are disappointed that the pace of sales did not improve in the third quarter, as we had expected. Spending by domestic customers remained tepid, especially in key apparel and accessory categories," said CEO Terry Lundgren in the news release.

In the short term, Lundgren said the company will shift into "overdrive" to focus on holiday sales in the fourth quarter.

Macy's announced earlier this year it plans to close 35 to 40 stores in early 2016. It operates about 900 stores in 45 states under the Macy's and Bloomingdale's names.

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