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Outlet mall, downtown Hy-Vee top list of big retail changes in 2017 |

Outlet mall, downtown Hy-Vee top list of big retail changes in 2017


Several new retailers opened shops in the area this year including Outlets of Des Moines in Altoona and West Elm in downtown Des Moines.
Patt Johnson/Des Moines Register

The Des Moines retail landscape saw its share of growth this year, with projects ranging from the new outlet mall in Altoona to a long-awaited downtown grocery store.

There were developments that brought new stores to Iowa. Some old favorites expanded while others — like The Limited, MC Sports and Valley Junction mainstay Wicker The Works — closed their doors. 

The biggest retail story in the metro this year was the opening Outlets of Des Moines, a 300,000-square-foot, open-air shopping center south of Bass Pro Shops in Altoona. The center has 40 stores with more to come. 

RELATED: Outlet mall fulfills decades-long dream for eastern Polk County

Downtown Des Moines’ retail boon included Hy-Vee Inc. opening its first urban design store at Fourth Street and Court Avenue. It combines groceries with an extensive offering of prepared foods.

RELATED: Hy-Vee unveils ‘urban look’ downtown grocery and Mark Wahlberg was there

The East Village landed a major national retailer when West Elm debuted in September on East Grand Avenue. The popular furniture and home decor store is expected to bring more national names to the growing commercial and residential district.

RELATED: National retailer West Elm picks East Village for new shop

Nationally, the doom and gloom reports of the demise of brick and mortar retail is exaggerated, retail experts say. The National Retail Federation cited a report from research company IHL Group that showed for every company closing a store in 2017, 2.7 companies are opening stores.

Here’s a short list of retailers that landed in the Des Moines metro this year:

West Elm

Trendy home furnishings store West Elm opened in Des Moines’ East Village neighborhood. The 11,000-square-foot store offers a mix of modern and mid-century furniture, rugs, accessories, bedding and kitchen goods with a dose of goods from local artisans. The Brooklyn, New York-based company is a division of Williams Sonoma and sister company to Pottery Barn.


Take a tour of Iowa’s first West Elm store in Des Moines’ East Village with Dru Ortega, West Elm spokesman.
Rodney White/The Register

Ross Dress for Less

Eager shoppers formed a line outside Ross Dress for Less when it opened at Merle Hay Mall in early October. The 25,000-square-foot store sits in the spots vacated by Staples and Deb Shops. Mall owners said the store fits the center’s value theme by offering discounted name-brand and designer apparel, accessories and shoes.


Merle Hay Mall has positioned itself in the retail market with discount and value-priced stores like Kohl’s, Target, Shoe Carnival and Old Navy. The newest addition is Ross Dress for Less, which opens Friday.
Patt Johnson/Des Moines Register


Garage, a mid-priced clothing store aimed at teens and young women, opened earlier this year at Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines.

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