Destination retailer American Girl said Thursday it will close its store at the Mall of America along with a location in Boston on March 20 as part of a cost-cutting move.
Both stores opened in November 2008.
The closure will affect 15 full-time and 31 part-time employees at the Mall of America.
“While decisions that impact our associates, our customers and the community are always difficult, the closures are a necessary step to improve the overall health of our business and reinvest in key areas of growth, ” Wade Opland, vice president of retail for American Girl, said in a statement.
American Girl, which is owned by Mattel Inc. and headquartered in Middleton, Wis., has 17 other stores across the country.
This is the second major retailer to announce its departure from the Mall of America in recent months. Sears, which is liquidating hundreds of stores, announced in December it would leave its longtime anchor spot on the mall’s north end.
Officials at the Mall of America said the complex continues to change “with a focus on a vibrant and unique tenant mix” as the retail and entertainment landscape evolves.
The American Girl location “has access to mall retail areas as well as our world-class theme park, a combination appealing to many brands,” the mall’s statement said. “We look forward to announcing new tenants soon.”
The first American Girl store opened in Chicago in 1998. The brick-and-mortar concept grew out of a collection of dolls and book characters developed in 1986.
Each 18-inch doll comes with a story. The stores, which are aimed at girls 3 to 12, sell clothes, books and other accessories. But they also provide activities for children to do with their dolls, such as get their hair styled and have tea parties.
Mattel Inc. has been cutting costs in recent years as American Girl has faced double-digit sales declines.
Last summer it closed a distribution facility and call center in Wilmot, Wis., laying off 135 employees. At the time, the company said it had been “facing headwinds for the past several quarters,” and was consolidating operations to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.
American Girl closed its first store in St. Louis in 2018, but a spokeswoman said that decision was prompted by financial struggles related to the mall and not the store.
“We’ve been seeing headwinds for some time, which has required us to critically assess all aspects of our business,” spokeswoman Julie Parks said in an interview. “That has resulted in us making tough decisions that will help us return the brand to growth.”
The 22,600-square-foot location at the Mall of America has multiple stories and overlooks Nickelodeon Universe. It is about half the size of flagships stores in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.
The Bloomington store has a bistro and two private party rooms large enough to accommodate birthdays or other events for 130 children.
The lease at the Mall of America store expires in February, but American Girl was able to extend operations for another month, Parks said.