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Wendy Reuer, Published September 13 2012

VIDEO: Loft opens in West Acres

FARGO – Loft, a women’s clothing store, will open today at West Acres Shopping Center.

Loft is the more casual division of Ann Inc., which operates Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory Stores and Loft Outlets. Ann Taylor markets business attire for the working woman.

“Our tagline is, ‘It’s about genuine fun, everyday glamour,’ ” said Ben Johnson, director of field visuals. “So you can interpret that a million ways.”

The clothing is “about a fun-oriented lifestyle” Johnson said, with no target age or economic demographic.

The clothing is high-quality and sells at about mid-range prices compared to other retail stores in this area.

The more than 3,300-foot store is considered one of Loft’s concept stores, with elegant fixtures, flattering lighting and groupings of pieces that mingle style.

Johnson said the space is about average for Loft stores across the nation.

“This gave it a more intimate feel, and this would be a space about right for us,” he said.

Only a handful of concept stores in Loft’s lineup have been created, he said.

“It definitely showcases our product in a way we haven’t done before. It really is an investment in customer experience,” said Shellie Kasper Bredesen, Loft district manager.

The store is opening right on schedule, moving into a location formerly occupied by The Buckle, which moved across the West Acres walkway this spring.

Kasper Bredesen said the Fargo location is considered prime real estate in a mall with 100 percent occupancy.

“We actually joke it’s the Mall of America of North Dakota,” she said.

She said Loft is a good fit for its target shoppers, such as teachers, college students and professional women.

The Fargo store will offer a line of Loft shoes, a first for the store chain, she said.

Petite sizes were also broadened in the Fargo store.

“We decided to go heavy into petites because we knew there weren’t a lot of petite (selections) up here,” Kasper Bredesen said.

Stephanie Bear, manager of Loft, worked as a co-manager of Express in West Acres before taking the helm of the new Loft.

The store launches a number of fundraising initiatives throughout the year and gets involved with local causes.

“That’s what attracted me here, that giving back (to the community),” Bear said.

A grand opening event from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday will include a DJ, chances to win a $250 Loft gift card and a sale of 40 percent off the entire store throughout the day.

If you go

What: Loft opening

When: 10 a.m. today

1-5 p.m. Saturday, Special Grand Opening

Where: West Acres Mall, 3902 13th Ave. S., Fargo

Info: Enter to win a $250 Loft shopping spree and personal stylist session

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530

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