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Saks Off Fifth Bids Farewell To Downtown With Big Sale

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) --If you like a bargain, now's the time to shop at Saks Off Fifth on Nicollet Mall.

A clearance sale is taking place before the store closes for good on Saturday.

The discounts are huge. Many items are up to 80 percent off.

The closing of Saks is just one of many changes coming to Nicollet Mall this year.

It's a large space but it won't be vacant for long.

Walgreen's has already announced its plans to move in that building where Saks Off Fifth is located, between 6th and 7th streets on Nicollet Mall.

A company spokesperson says they don't have an exact move-in date in mind, but it will be different from the traditional Walgreens drug stores.

But first, Saks has got to clear out.

Everything must go. The clothes, the furniture and even the mannequins.

"I'm totally bummed out," shopper Sally Pemberton said. "I'm new to Minneapolis, but I understand Neiman Marcus and other luxury stores have left here."

You'll still be able to shop at Saks Off Fifth, but you'll have to head to Eagan to do it.

Over the summer, the company opened a store at the new Twin Cities Premium Outlet Mall.

Reaction to a new Walgreen's opening on Nicollet Mall has been cool.

"That's just what we need downtown, another Walgreens," shopper Cathy Bartle said. "There's probably three nearby on other corners."

The closing of Saks Off Fifth comes at a time when Nicollet Mall is about to undergo a $50 million renovation.

An expansion project begins this spring and will be finished in 2016.

The downtown retail district opened in 1968.

It was upgraded in the 1980s and is now poised to become even more pedestrian friendly.

"I have seen some of the pictures and sketches, but I hope it still has some of the same atmosphere, I like that you can come anytime of the year and walk around the skyways," said Whitney Bartle of Rosemount.

As for right now, shoppers can take advantage of those clearance racks inside Saks.

A spokesperson for the parent company, which is headquartered in Canada, said they are actively looking for a new location to open in downtown Minneapolis.

There are about 45 workers at the current store, some are transferring and others are being laid off.

Managers at Walgreens headquarters in Illinois say they have not determined whether they will close the existing Walgreen's on Nicollet Mall near 10th Street, but many people in the business community are speculating that it's likely.

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