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Top 10 Retail Center Experiences: No. 5 Mall of America

Daybreaker continues its countdown of the Top 10 Retail Center Experiences named in the July-August edition of Chain Store Age.

Walt Disney World in sunny Orlando, Fla., home to hundreds of popular tourist attractions, draws a little over 50 million people a year. Mall of America, in the North Country of Bloomington, Minn., whose other local attractions number just two (the Vikings and the Twins), draws more than 40 million visitors a year. Guest per guest, which ones are harder won?

We argue that it’s MOA’s. Never resting on its laurels, Triple Five’s mega-experience encompassing nearly 6 million sq. ft. of adventure (nearly half of it shopping) is constantly upgrading its roster of 500-plus stores. TV star Sarah Jessica Parker stopped by MOA in June to open her SJP shoe boutique, and Nordstrom will soon be opening a Dior boutique.

“We see innovation as anything new we can do to improve the experience,” said general manager Jill Renslow.

Among her favorite upgrades this year is Park Assist, a camera-based system that shows drivers entering the parking garages what levels have the most open parking spaces, indicated by red and green lights above the spaces. She is also proud of some of the more thoughtful efforts MOA and its tenants are making to keep all customers happy.

“We are providing training and resources to encourage flexibility and diversity, and we’re starting to see it show in tenants advertising messages and storefronts,” Renslow said. “Khloe Kardashian’s Good American store stocks women’s sizes from 0 to 24 and displays them on mannequins of varying body types.”

MOA is also providing tenants more room for experimentation, introducing short-term leases to allow brands to “test-drive” concepts, in the words of Renslow. “We’re always making decisions that will move us forward and keep us fresh,” she said.

Stay tuned for daily profiles of the next five centers. Until then, catch up on what you missed:

No. 1 Easton Town Center
No. 2 Northpark Center
No. 3 Avalon
No. 4 Westfield Garden State Plaza
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