Some West Towne Mall retailers short-staffed, closing early

Stores like Ann Taylor are struggling to find the staff to keep their doors open all day, closing two hours earlier than the mall.
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 10:12 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The retail industry is the latest to face a worker shortage, and the shortage of employees is hitting some at West Towne Mall. Some stores at the shopping center are closing early, lacking the staff they need to keep their stores open longer hours.

Ann Taylor at West Towne recently expanded their hours, but they are still closing two hours earlier than the mall–and opening an hour later than they did pre-pandemic.

“It’s really just kind of a staffing situation,” explained store manager Starr Rios.

Rios started as manager back in March. She said the store has since added hours, extending closing time to 7 p.m. from 6 p.m., but pre-pandemic, they were open three hours longer.

“It’s kind of struggling to find people to want to work during the week and want those full hours,” Rios said.

Rios explained she has been posting online and handing out pamphlets to recruit more staff, but with only limited success.

“There’s a lot of competitive pay in the mall too, so I feel like that kind of contributes to it,” she said.

Ann Taylor is not the only store with open jobs either. Rios said friends of hers at neighboring stores are also posting jobs.

“Everywhere is hiring at the same time, so we’re all kind of fighting for any applicants we get,” she explained.

That competition makes recruiting even harder, but Rios is still trying. Her goal is to beef up staffing ahead of the fall season.

“Hopefully by mid to end-August, we can get in a better spot where we would be able to open up to mall hours,” she said.

NBC15 also reached out to several locally owned stores at West Towne Mall and some other larger national chains. Many said they were not seeing any problems with staffing, but employees at both Ann Taylor and Victoria’s Secret told NBC15 they often see nearby stores shutting down early.

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