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Anchors Away! When a Mega-Mall Loses a Major Retailer

The nation’s largest shopping and entertainment complex is losing one of its four anchor stores.

Macy’s plans to close its Bloomingdale’s store at Minnesota’s Mall of America in March. The closure is part of the retailer’s goal to trim underperforming stores.

Karen Bleier | AFP | Getty Images

When Bloomingdale’s officially closes in March, it will create a 210,000-square-foot gap in the Mall Of America that few retailers can physically fill. The mega mall already has anchor stores Nordstrom , Sears and Macy’s.

But just because Bloomingdale’s is jumping ship, it doesn’t mean the mall is on the verge of a big black hole — sucking in one retailer at a time.

The Mall of America is in a solid spot as one of Minnesota’s largest tourist destinations. It had a record year in 2011, with sales growing 10 percent.

So, if any mall can weather the departure of an anchor store, the Mall of America could probably do it. In fact, the situation could be a step in altering mall-o-nomics. Who says you need a department store in each corner of the mall — especially as major retailers cut back on the growth of their "brick and mortar" stores in this challenging economy.

“Mall of America has now been provided with a great opportunity to add an exciting mix of new retailers and renovate that area of the mall,” said Mall of America spokesman Daniel Jasper in a statement.

The plan, which is expected to cost more than $30 million dollars, calls for adding four major international fashion-forward retail stores, more space for luxury retailers and a value-priced retail destination. So, don’t expect a Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue or JCPenney to move in as the fourth anchor.

America’s Research Group Founder Britt Beemer suggests the is shopping mall landscape is changing and the predicament is bigger than the Mall of America.

“In 2007 and 2008, when we had booming times, you could keep stores open that were marginal. Now, they are unprofitable in the whole scheme of things,” said Beemer. “I think you are going to see a lot of stores in the malls close. I still think there are too many malls in America. We just don’t need this many malls.”

Tell that to Triple Five, the Mall of America’s owner. It’s in expansion mode.

Perhaps driven by good business sense (or just ego), Triple Five signed on to take over New Jersey’s failed Xanadu complex in the Meadowlands last year.

The company plans to develop the property into a shopping destination even bigger than the Mall of America and call it the “American Dream Meadowlands.”

Hopefully, it’s one that doesn’t turn into a nightmare. The mall would be less than 30 minutes from Paramus — one of the largest shopping meccas in the nation.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Stephanie is a Squawk Box producer. Follow her on Twitter @StephLandsman.

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