ST. CLOUD - A handful of businesses in St. Cloud have recently closed their doors, leading some to be concerned about the local economy.

In December, stores like Big Lots, Work Out World and Toys R Us announced they would close their doors. Over the last couple of weeks, several stores like New York & Company, The Wet Seal, Deb, The Limited and P.S. From Aeropostale in the Crossroads Center also announced they will be closing.

St. Cloud State Economist King Banaian says there's some concern about losing the stores, but feels the closings are normal in a healthy economy.

Area shoppers also seem to be craving local options compared to national retail stores. Banaian says shoppers like to support local "Mom and Pop" shops involved in the community.

Some stores like Toys R Us struggled because of the popularity of online shopping on store websites and Amazon.

However, online shopping now has less of an impact because the market is maturing. Banaian says there's still many consumers who prefer to go into stores to hand-pick what they buy.

One of the biggest challenges for local businesses is a shortage of labor and workers in the area.

Overall, Banaian says the area quarterly business report shows the economy is still doing very well in the St. Cloud metro with very low levels of unemployment.

In a statement to WJON, Darcy Eigen, the General Manager at the Crossroads Mall says:

“We never like to see a retailer close; but with a high demand by retailers for space in high performing malls, this gives us an opportunity to continue providing stellar retail and entertainment. A small number of retailers are currently dealing with events and decisions at their corporate offices that are unrelated to the conditions at the Crossroads Center.”

Stores like the Wet Seal and P.S. From Aeropostale are closing as a result of the chains closing locations nationwide.