Empire Mall overwhelmed by retail bankruptcies


SIOUX FALLS (AP) – The Empire Mall in Sioux Falls is feeling the impact of mass closures and bankruptcies in the retail industry, but the mall’s owner remains upbeat.

Gymboree, Crazy 8 and Charlotte Russe have shut down, which adds to the current vacancies at the mall that include two big anchor locations, the Argus Leader reported.

The bankruptcies in Sioux Falls contrasted a first-quarter earnings call from the Empire Mall’s Indianapolis-based owner-operator, Simon Property Group.

“We continue to operate our business with a long-term view,” President and CEO David Simon said. “Our track record speaks for itself.”

During first-quarter earnings calls, Simon noted the rest of the company was outpacing the industry. Simon’s mall properties saw their occupancy had jumped from the first quarter of 2018, reaching 95.1%.

“It’s safe to say that we did anticipate some bankruptcies,” Simon said. “We are looking at a few others that we’ll see how the rest of the year shakes out for them.”

The Empire Mall declared in December that mega fashion retailer Dillard’s was preparing to occupy the old Younkers space and add square footage. But the mall’s staff has declined to provide an update on the store’s development.

Simon’s map of the mall indicates spaces are still up for lease in the Sears wing, where Dairy Queen shut down earlier this year and the old Hallmark space remains unoccupied in addition to the space next to the Sanford Children’s Play Area.

The Empire Mall declined to comment for this story.

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