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Thursday, Jun 1, 2023

Mall Closures Open Doors for Dave & Buster’s

Dave & Buster’s is set to open a new location at the Northridge Fashion Center on July 16. The 50,000-square-foot restaurant and arcade will be the first Dave & Buster’s in the San Fernando Valley. “Northridge is basically the central hub for the San Fernando Valley, so it provides great access and is a great location,” said Jeff Bollenbeck, general manager of the new restaurant. “It’s actually one of the largest locations that we’ve built in the past seven or eight years.” The new store will move into an empty retail space that last housed a Sports Authority. The Dallas-based chain is currently expanding into vacant storefronts at shopping centers across the country. As mall “anchor” stores such as Sears and Macy’s close their doors, Dave & Buster’s is snagging the sites. It plans to open 12 to 14 new stores this year. In addition to the upcoming opening, the Northridge Fashion Center recently welcomed a Wood Ranch Barbecue and Grill. The shopping center also plans to convert 45,000 square feet of former retail space into creative offices (see “Rethinking the Mall” on page 1 of the Business Journal’s June 11 issue). Bollenbeck said the new office spaces could help drive traffic to the restaurant. “We want to be a destination spot for anybody, whether they’re getting off school or getting off work,” he said. Northridge Fashion Center is owned by General Growth Properties in Chicago. Cherokee Faces Insolvency Cherokee Inc. could face the prospect of bankruptcy, the company announced in an earnings report on June 14. The Van Nuys fashion licensing company, which conducts business as Cherokee Global Brands, has substantial liquidity issues and may be unable to pay down its long-term debt, raising “significant doubt as to the ability of Cherokee Global Brands to continue as a going concern,” the company stated in its quarterly filing. The company is carrying $49.1 million in liabilities, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cherokee first acknowledged uncertainty over its credit situation in its annual report in April. To address its debt, Cherokee plans to negotiate new terms with one of its primary lenders, Cerberus Capital Management, and seek extensions from other creditors. “We continue to take actions to resolve our liquidity challenges, and we’re optimistic that our efforts to resolve the noncompliance with our existing credit agreement will result in an acceptable outcome,” Chief Executive Henry Stupp said in a statement. Cherokee reported a net loss of $45.6 million last year, reflecting a $35.5 million impairment charge stemming from “significant changes to the company’s cash flow projections based on recent experience.” Restaurant Wage Theft Cheesecake Factory Inc. in Calabasas and its janitorial contractor Americlean Janitorial Services Corp. have been cited for $4.57 million in wage theft following an investigation by an industry watchdog and the California Labor Commissioner’s office. The restaurant group and Americlean, which subcontracted Cheesecake’s janitorial services to Ohio-based Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning, were said to have denied overtime pay and paid less than minimum wage to about 600 janitors over a three-year period. The investigation was launched by Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, a janitorial industry watchdog, and included eight Cheesecake Factory locations in San Diego and Orange counties. Investigators found that workers were not given proper meal or rest breaks and were required to complete additional tasks that constituted up to 10 hours of unpaid overtime every week. “We take matters of this nature very seriously. We are continuing to review the allegations and will respond to the wage citation within the time provided,” Sidney Greathouse, vice president of legal services at Cheesecake Factory, said in an email to the Business Journal. Cheesecake Factory has previously contracted with janitorial firms that ran afoul of labor laws. One contractor was ordered to pay $14 million in a similar case in 2007, while another faced a lawsuit by janitors in 2010. This time, though, the rules have changed: The company is legally responsible for the actions of its contractors under legislation that went into effect in 2016. The law states that firms that contract with janitorial service companies are held jointly liable for wages for work performed on their property. Staff Reporter Ethan Varian can be reached at (818) 316-3130 or evarian@sfvbj.com.

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