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The rumors are true. After 20 years, Marshall Field's is closing its doors in the Kirkwood Mall.

Employees were notified Tuesday that the store will be closed by mid-summer. Marshall Field's was previously Dayton's until the name change and a slight remodeling to the store was done in 2001. Before Dayton's came in 1985, Woolworth's occupied that location.

Sharon Bateman, spokesperson from the May Department Co., which owns Marshall Field's, said the store has not been performing up to standards.

"The May Company always tracks the productivity of its stores, and closing this store was a joint decision between us and Marshall Field's," Bateman said.

There are approximately 100 employees at the department store. Bateman said employees will receive a severance package, but would not comment on the details of the package.

Lisa Engelstad, marketing manager for Kirkwood Mall, would not say what stores are interested in the available space, but said there has been interest.

"Any other time I would be concerned if a department store was closing, but this is very leasable space," Engelstad said. "And we will explore different opportunities."

Two possible prospects are Target and Best Buy.

Lena Michaud, spokeswoman for Target, said it is interested in the location.

"We are considering moving to that (Marshall Field's) location. If that were to occur, we would build a new store on the larger site (Marshall Field's)," Michaud said.

Currently, Target is located on the south side of Kirkwood Mall.

Best Buy has been advertising for general and assistant managers for the Bismarck area. A spokesperson would not say if Best Buy is interested in the Kirkwood Mall location, but said the company will reveal its new store location by next month.

"I hope a new staple store comes in and will bring more traffic to this end of the mall," said Danielle Tveter, a Zales Jewelers employee.

Regular and casual shoppers at Marshall Field's say they go there because of quality merchandise and the sales.

"It's one of the classiest places in town," said Jill Furaes, a shopper and Zales employee, "I like to get nice things that aren't outrageously priced, and they also carry higher brand (names)."

Two regular shoppers, JoAnn Becker and LilaMae Buchmann, were surprised to find that Marshall Field's will be closing.

"We've been shopping here ever since it was Dayton's for clothes, home items, shoes and everything, really," Becker said. "The sales are one of the things we really go for. They have wonderful deals."

The two women shop at the Marshall Field's store in Fargo, and said they probably will be making a few more trips there once the Bismarck store closes.

(Reach reporter Kayla Cogdill at 250-8251 or kaylacogdill@bismarcktribune. net.)

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