Express to Close Stores in Eden Prairie, Burnsville
An Express storefront. (Creative Commons)

Express to Close Stores in Eden Prairie, Burnsville

The two malls already face some of the highest vacancy rates among regional shopping centers.

Columbus, Ohio-based fashion apparel chain Express on Wednesday announced plans to close 100 locations nationwide, including its stores in Burnsville and Eden Prairie.

The news marks another hit for two shopping plazas that have endured high-profile exits in recent years. For instance, both malls have lost Sears, Charlotte Russe, and Payless.

The two malls also have the second and third highest vacancy rates among regional shopping centers, according to a 2019 report by commercial real estate analysis firm Cushman & Wakefield. Burnsville’s vacancy rate is 21.4 percent, while Eden Prairie’s is 19 percent. (Southdale had the highest vacancy rate at 22.5 percent.)

Minnesota's 10 other Express locations, including in Bloomington, Edina, St. Paul, and Roseville, are safe for now.

Express, meanwhile, says it’s closing the stores to reduce operating costs and generate savings. The retailer hopes to achieve a mid-single-digit operating margin.

The closures are expected to result in a $90 million loss, which will be offset by cost savings, company officials said in a statement. Express execs also expect the closures to deliver a $15 million annual increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Express has already begun closing stores, with nine locations shuttered in 2019. The company has identified 31 of the 100 stores it plans to close next. These are all slated to be shuttered by the end of the month. It has yet to decide on the 69 other stores to be closed, but of those 69 locations chosen, 35 will be shuttered by the end of January 2021, and the remaining 34 stores will be closed by 2022.