Many local shopping malls are going to have to grapple with the loss of one more retailer: Gymboree.
The San Francisco-based children’s clothing chain is closing nearly a fourth, or 350, of its stores nationwide, including four Gymboree stores in the Twin Cities — at Southdale Center, Burnsville Center, Eden Prairie Center and the Shoppes at Arbor Lakes in Maple Grove. The company is also closing two Crazy 8 stores at Burnsville Center and in Woodbury.
Outside the metro area, Gymboree is closing stores in Mankato and Medford, Minn.
The closing sales are expected to begin Tuesday.
Gymboree, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, is one of the latest casualties of massive disruption sweeping across retail as a number of brands are struggling with large debt loads as well as lower mall traffic and the shift to online shopping. Other chains that have recently filed for bankruptcy include Payless ShoeSource, Aeropostale, PacSun, Gordmans, Rue21, BCBG, Wet Seal, the Limited and True Religion. Others that are on analysts’ watch lists of who could be next include Claire’s and J. Crew.
The latest development with Gymboree means that many area shopping malls, which already have a number of recently vacated storefronts because of these other bankruptcies, will soon have another space or two to fill.
But Gymboree’s troubles could provide an opening for other retailers such as Minneapolis-based Target Corp., which has been stepping up its efforts in children’s clothing with the launch last year of its Cat & Jack brand. Target CEO Brian Cornell has said other retail bankruptcies could leave up to $60 billion in sales up for grabs.
Gymboree, which was saddled in debt from a leveraged buyout by Bain Capital in 2010, is working to restructure its business.
“Right-sizing our store footprint is a central part of our efforts to ensure Gymboree emerges from this restructuring process as a stronger and more competitive organization, with greater financial flexibility to invest in our future,” Daniel Griesemer, Gymboree’s CEO, said in a statement. “Importantly, we will continue to operate a majority of our stores and will continue to deliver quality merchandise and superior service to our customers at our Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Crazy 8 brands.”
After this round of store closings, Gymboree will operate about 930 stores under the Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Crazy 8 banners.
Its Gymboree store at Rosedale Center also recently closed, along with Children’s Place, Charlotte Russe and NY & Company, because of a redevelopment project underway at the mall.
Gymboree stores will remain at Ridgedale Center, Twin Cities Premium Outlets, Albertville Premium Outlets and in Woodbury.
Crazy 8 stores will stay open at Maplewood Mall and Twin Cities Premium Outlets. Janie and Jack stores are at the Mall of America and Twin Cities Premium Outlets.