By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — Another retailer is pulling out of the Wausau Center mall, effective April 18.
The Children’s Place, which sells clothing for children ranging in age from infants to teenagers, will close after nearly five years at the mall.
The announcement is one of a string of recent store closures at the troubled shopping center. The parent company of Younkers, the sole remaining anchor store at the mall, announced six weeks ago the company would shutter its Wausau location in May. Gamestop closed abruptly on Jan. 20.
The downtown area of Wausau was blighted by many vacant buildings in the late 1970s. A referendum was passed in 1979 to allow the Jacobs Group to build the mall. Approximately 67 buildings were demolished to make way for the mall, which opened on August 3, 1983 with nearly 60 stores and restaurants.
In 2006, the mall owners began a renovation which included new seating areas and an improved mall entrance. Two years later, the food court was expanded, using space vacated that same year by a McDonald’s restaurant.
But slow economy and an increase in online sales led to a downturn in the mall’s popularity over the past several years. Anchor stores J.C. Penney closed in 2014, while Sears pulled out in 2016. More stores, including Gap and Hollister, also closed their storefronts in 2014, and Payless Shoe Source closed last year.
The mall currently has about three dozen stores, including several kiosks, remaining.