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For the first time in the West Park Mall's 18-year history, the shopping mall is fully leased. More than 100 retail operations are gearing up for the holiday season. Twenty-one specialty tenants will join the 85 year-around stores in the mall for the holidays.

The mall's noteworthy occupancy rate speaks well of the local economy in general. Southeast Missouri's economy continues to roll at a good clip. More people have jobs than ever before. It should make for good holiday spending throughout the county. Merchants should be looking forward to one of the best holiday seasons in recent years.

West Park Mall is owned by Westfield American Inc., which owns 37 other regional shopping centers in eight states.

The company is improving three of its shopping centers in Missouri: A $7 million addition of 27,000 square feet of specialty stores recently completed at Crestwood in St. Louis, a $13 million expansion under way at Mid Rivers Mall in St. Peters including a new 14-screen movie theater and 127,000 square feet of leasable space and a $200 million redevelopment for West County Mall in St. Louis planned for the first quarter of next year.

Things are looking up for West Park Mall. That's good news with the holiday season just around the corner.