Fast fashion is fast making its mark in Twin Cities retail circles.
Forever 21 will open a gigantic new store at the Mall of America on Dec. 15 in space once partially occupied by Bloomingdale's. And H&M, the Swedish fashion retailer, opens its newest area store in Uptown's Calhoun Square on Dec. 14.
The two retailers are often lumped together under the "fast fashion" moniker -- where styles quickly move from the runway to the affordable racks at the mall. Tough economic times spurred the growth of retailers like Forever 21 and H&M, as budget-minded fashionistas shopped for items that wouldn't crash their debit cards.
Both retailers have taken on interesting real estate plays with their newest stores in the Twin Cities. Forever 21, a privately held Los Angeles-based chain, will relocate from its current digs at the megamall to a new 80,000-square-foot, two-level space that takes up a sub-level and part of the first-floor on the mall's southeastern flank.
When Bloomingdale's shuttered its 210,000-square-foot anchor store at the Mall of America earlier this year, mall officials said they would spend $30 million to $50 million to overhaul the space into a series of mini-anchor stores. Forever 21 is the first of them to open. Mall spokesman Dan Jasper said two other retailers have committed to space there, but he declined to name them.
The retailer will close its current store at the mall after the move, Jasper said.
Forever 21 also has stores in Rosedale and Maplewood Mall.
Bloomingdale's had operated at the megamall since it opened in 1992 but closed when parent company Macy's announced plans to eliminate underperforming stores nationwide.
Across town, H&M will move into a two-level space at Calhoun Square, Uptown's signature retail complex. The retailer, which reported $17 billion in annual revenue, has other local stores in the Mall of America, Southdale, Woodbury Lakes and Maplewood Mall.
"Consumers in Minneapolis have proven to be extremely loyal to our brand," Daniel Kulle, U.S. president for H&M, said in a statement. "We are thrilled to expand to Calhoun Square and offer fashion and quality at the best price for the entire family, just in time for the holidays."
But some trend watchers say the fast-fashion trend may be fading, as millennials opt to spend more on basic pieces for their wardrobe. "There's a whole vast sector of the public that really has been burned out by fast fashion and the novelty and is just very exhausted," said David Wolfe, creative director of the Doneger Group, a New York-based trend forecaster. "There's a great opportunity now for quality basics that are very, very well-priced."
While Americans bought 19.4 billion garments last year, a 5.3 percent decrease from 2010, the value of sales rose almost 5 percent to $283.7 billion, showing consumers accepted higher prices, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association, a trade group. On average, that would mean each person spent about $910 on 62 garments.
However, it doesn't appear as through fast-fashion backlash has hurt the industry's heavyweights. H&M said in September that comparable-store sales rose 2 percent in the nine months through Aug. 31.
Bloomberg News contributed to this report.