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West Acres Shopping Center, 3902 13th Ave. S., Fargo, as seen Dec. 15, 2016. Forum News Service file photo

Clothing store closing at West Acres, but mall officials say demand for space still exceeds vacancies

FARGO — Another store is closing at West Acres Shopping Center, but an official with the mall said the news wasn't a surprise and demand for space still outpaces vacancies.

The Gymboree Corp. announced Tuesday, July 11, that it will close about 350 stores, including its Gymboree store in West Acres, after a "comprehensive evaluation of its retail footprint." Closing sales will begin July 18.

The San Francisco-based children's clothing company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A news release said it will focus its resources on its more than 900 remaining stores "with the greatest potential and improve the profitability of the overall business."

The Gymboree closing list also includes stores in Edina, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Mankato, Maple Grove and Medford in Minnesota, Rapid City in South Dakota and Glendale, Racine and Oshkosh in Wisconsin.

Gymboree Corp. also announced it will close its Crazy 8 clothing store in Rapid City, as well as two of the clothing stores in Burnsville and Woodbury in Minnesota.

West Acres' Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Alissa Adams told The Forum that the closing news "does not come as a surprise to us" as Gymboree adjusts its national footprint. She said it's unknown when the Fargo store will close.

"Stores close and change, just as trends change," she said in an email statement. "Currently there is too much physical retail space across the country and stores are consolidating their footprints, but physical retail is not going away."

Adams said "strong malls in good markets," including West Acres, "will continue to adjust and thrive."

West Acres announced Tuesday night that teen-focused retailer Zumiez will open here this fall in the former Vanity space.

Adams said mall officials continue to work with new stores, and there is more interest in getting space at West Acres than the mall has vacant space available. But West Acres also wants to make sure new tenants will achieve "a mix" of the right stores, restaurants and experiences to meet customer needs.

She said the mall will have more store opening announcements in the coming months.

West Acres, like many shopping centers across the country, has seen major shifts as stores struggle to keep up with rapidly changing retail and shopping trends.

Since December, the mall has lost several stores, including Sears, Aeropostale, The Limited, New York & Co., Wet Seal, Simply Mac, Family Christian and Vanity.