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Dave and Buster's moving into Southdale as malls cope with business lull


It's game on at Southdale Center. Or it will be, next year.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal says Dave and Buster's has signed a lease and is beginning construction of a 40,000-square-foot location the company plans to open at the Edina mall next summer.

It will be the second Dave and Buster's location in Minnesota. The other is in Maple Grove.

Dave and Buster's told the Business Journal that 140-160 people will be hired at its Edina location.

The arcade-oriented bar and grill will take up residence on Southdale's third floor, which used to be home to the shopping center's food court as well as a handful of stores. But the restaurants have since moved to a different location, and many of the third floor's storefronts sit empty.

Southdale is the oldest indoor shopping center in the U.S. But modern or not, malls across America have struggled mightily in recent years.

The Guardian says dying shopping malls are "speckled across the United States, often in middle-class suburbs wrestling with socioeconomic shifts."

Much of it is due to consumers heading back toward city centers, and jumping online to look for deals, the story says. The trend, Guardian notes, is more prominent in the Midwest than other areas of the country.

In April, the BBC declared "the death of the U.S. shopping mall." The New Yorker asked, "Are malls over?" And Forbes said the mall is "doomed."

Part of the reason, Forbes explains, is the loss of so-called anchor stores – large department chains (such as Sears, Best Buy and J.C. Penney) that serve as a key draw for customers.

According to Business Insider, one real estate firm predicts 15 percent of U.S. mall space will fail or be changed into non-retail space by 2024.

But the economics matter too. The site says malls that cater to upper-income patrons are actually seeing sales go up – while the malls lower-income customers generally shop (or shopped) at are closing.

The high-end market seems to be the Mall of America's target.

In March the megamall broke ground on a $325 million expansion, which includes a luxury hotel and space for more retail space – which mall officials hope will draw in 50-75 high-end stores. According to the Pioneer Press, the goal is to have the first floor geared toward "unique/upscale retailers."

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