By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Like many Americans, a metro shopping area has fallen on hard times. Crossroads Mall is taking another blow as Dillard's announces it will close the department store at the end of the year.

Dillard's will make the third major department store to close here Crossroads Mall, and some wonder what that means for the mall's future.

"I like Dillard's. I like shopping and seeing what's going on," shopper Mildred Alexander said.

As shoppers grab up the bargains before the retail anchor closes, surrounding businesses spread the word.

"It's closing little by little," Subway manager Julie Cano said. "This whole place used to be real packed, chairs were full."

Cano has seen better days. She said when Crossroads Mall lost JCPenny and Macy's, it took a bite out of business. Now, Dillard's is on its way out, which doesn't bode well for businesses like Cano's.

"It's just sad. I've been here for three years, and I'm just watching it slowly close down," Cano said.

Even shoppers from out of town are taking notice of the troubles the mall is facing.

"It makes it seem as though the mall is going downhill and it's not going to be around anymore," Jared Griens said.

Mall officials said that's not the case. Crossroads Regional Manager Jim Swenson said in a statement, "Crossroads has over 120 stores and restaurants. We will continue to provide a wide variety of goods and services to meet the needs of our customers."

This isn't the only Dillard's closing, the department store giant is closing a number of stores across the country.

Local financial analyst Ann Garrett said she isn't surprised. She said retail is the first to go during an economic downturn. She believes Crossroads will continue to see more problems because of its location and history.

"I think Crossroads will probably be like Shephard Mall was, really not a retail establishment anymore. I think it's going to be very hard to get retail stores back in there," Garrett said.

The store is expected to close on December 29. Dillard's owns the building, but it remains uncertain who will fill the vacant retail building.

Dillard's has closed two other stores in Oklahoma in recent years. The Heritage Park Mall location in north Oklahoma City closed in 2006, and a Tulsa store closed in 2002.