Southdale Center is losing its J.C. Penney store

The writing was on the wall since a gym chain made a bid to take over the unit.

The writing has been on the wall for the J.C. Penney Southdale Center since last month, when Life Time Fitness revealed plans to take over its spot.

And the retailer confirmed to GoMN it will leave America's first indoor shopping mall, in Edina, closing down its store for good on Aug. 13.

The store will begin a liquidation sale on June 19, and this will mean layoffs for some of the 85 workers employed at the store if they can't be found roles at other J.C. Penney stores.

Although the Southdale store was left off J.C. Penney's list of 140 it revealed in January it would be shutting down amid difficult trading conditions, the retailer changed its mind after it was approached about the sale of its Southdale location.

In mid-May, Minnetonka-based Life Time Fitness revealed preliminary plans it submitted to the City of Edina to turn the J.C. Penney unit into a 120,000-square-foot mega gym, complete with a rooftop beach club, basketball center, and indoor pool.

At the time, J.C. Penney did not comment on whether it was exiting Southdale, but the mall's owner said there was a "pending deal" in the works.

The company now says it will be going "to great lengths to relocate esteemed leaders, while assisting associates in identifying other job opportunities at nearby J.C. Penney stores."

Those who don't find a position, it says, will get "separate benefits" including career training classes that helps them write resumes, fill out applications and answer interview questions.

The nearest J.C. Penney for Southdale shoppers once the store closes will be in Eden Prairie.

Retailer trouble

JCPenney is just one of the large retailers dealing with definite or possible store closures, as bricks-and-mortar retail companies struggle with the increasing consumer shift to online shopping. Others include:

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