Mag Mile no longer glitzy

May 6, 2009 4:46:19 PM PDT
The look of the Magnificent Mile is changing.The recession has forced some stores to close leaving some empty storefronts on some blocks of Michigan Avenue.

On Wednesday, bargain retailer target opened a tent pop-up sale on Michigan Avenue.

For Chicago's most famous shopping district it's a sign of the times.

For decades, Michigan Avenue, coined the Magnificent Mile by a prominent developer has been the location for up scale stores carrying expensive products and couture designs. The avenue is home to Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus and Escada. However, now for just three days Target has opened a pop-up store on the famous shopping boulevard, the retailer says it hopes to give Chicagoans a sneak peek at affordable designer fashions and products for spring in its bullseye bazaar design.

"We really wanted to capture as many of the city's residents as we could and give them an opportunity to experience this really unique shopping environment," said Josh Thomas, Target.

"I think there is room for it all on this street," said Charlotte Cummings, Michigan Avenue shopper.

Other moderately prices stores have been calling Michigan Avenue home such as H&M, Victoria Secret and Payless Shoes. Just across the street from Escada, Best Buy, the discount electronic store, is scheduled to open at the John Hancock center next month.

"I am excited. I am not one of the people that says Michigan Avenue, it will never be the same. The economy is not the same," said Shirley Schnackenzerg, Michigan Avenue shopper.

For 26 years, the prestigious Neiman Marcus has been on Michigan Avenue. Store officials say they welcome all other stores wanting to occupy the Magnificent Mile.

"There are all types of stores here. There are lots of great stores. Brings more traffic. More traffic the better," said Wendy Krimins, Neiman Marcus.

A jeweler recently told me he decided to move out because it is no longer the Magnificent Mile. He said it's become a big mall and not what it used to be.

"We are a full service shopping experience. So we are different from a mall. We are different from the malls in the country because we provide such a mixed use experience as well as an outdoor experience," said John Chikow, Greater North Michigan Avenue Association.

Chikow says that two very high end stores will be coming to the Magnificent Mile in 2009 and will make it an even more exciting shopping experience.


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