Mall of America to Lay Off More than 200

Mall of America to Lay Off More than 200

"The road to recovery is going to be slow,” spokeswoman says.

The Mall of America plans to lay off more than 200 workers by the end of the month.

In a letter to the state’s jobs agency, MOA officials said a total of 211 people will lose their jobs effective Sept. 30. The layoffs touch all of the mall’s departments, spokeswoman Sarah Grap said in an email.

“When the year began, no one could have predicted the enormous challenges we would face as a business, a community, and as a nation,” Grap said. “While we continue to make progress at Mall of America, the road to recovery is going to be slow.”

Meanwhile, 178 additional mall employees remain in limbo. That group of workers has already been on an unpaid temporary layoff for months. Starting Oct. 1, the state would consider those jobs lost, according to MOA. Under state law, a job is deemed lost when there’s been “a reduction in hours of work of more than 50 percent during each month of any six-month period and/ or because of a layoff exceeding six months,” mall officials said.

“Although MOA seeks to return all or some of these [178] employees to work as soon as possible, based on evolving business conditions, it may be necessary to extend the temporary layoff for these employees past Oct. 1, 2020,” mall officials wrote in the letter. “Should that be necessary, we do not intend to end the employees’ employment with MOA, rather, they would remain active employees on unpaid layoff status.”

The group of 178 employees work in mall operations and marketing, Grap said.

The pandemic has dealt MOA a few harsh blows. The Bloomington mall is still months behind on its mortgage payment as a result of state-mandated closures. Last month, the mall entered into a special cash-management agreement with its loan servicer to avoid foreclosure, the Star Tribune reported. Mall officials also have said that MOA has seen an 85 percent decline in revenue since the start of the pandemic.

Of course, some retailers have been riding out the pandemic with relative ease. Big-box stores Target and Best Buy have been reporting better-than-expected earnings. And some malls are even seeing a slow uptick in the number of leases signed. Rosedale Center, for instance, has landed a lululemon shop, and MOA recently opened two new stores: specialty food seller Wafels & Dinges and gift shop Piccadilly Prairie.