The pain of retail store closures is getting worse before it gets better.
Even with more than 11,250 U.S. stores slated to close by the end of 2019, the country is still over-stored. And that’s on top of the 5,864 doors retailers closed in 2018, and 2017’s 5,000-plus stores that landed on the chopping block.
“I think what you’re really seeing is survival of the fittest playing out,” David Berliner, restructuring and turnaround services partner at consulting firm BDO, said. “The malls are having a hard time getting traffic [and you’ll] continue to see a shaking out with more stores closing [in 2020], even among the stronger retailers.”
Berliner said the right-sizing of the retail store fleet is set to continue as more consumers shift their shopping online.
Wall Street is changing how it evaluates retail operations, Berliner said. “Years ago, it was all about growth, so all retailers opened stores,” he added. Wall Street now wants the opposite–fewer stores, but more profit with the right store [locations].”
Earlier this year, Coresight Research had predicted that retail could axe as many as 12,000 stores. And in April, UBS equity analyst Michael Lasser predicted that at least 75,000 retail doors, excluding food, will have to be closed by 2026 if e-commerce penetration grows to 25 percent as expected.
That 75,000 estimate could take hold ahead of projections if current trends continue. This year, retailers have already seen holiday shoppers clearly preferring mobile versus braving a trip to the store. And growth stemming from smartphones and other mobile devices is likely to keep pace in the years to come. That doesn’t mean stores will disappear any time soon, simply that the country will require less square footage to function effectively in a rapidly evolving retail landscape.
Below is a tally of the known store closures planned for this year. It is not a comprehensive list, given that some companies have quietly shuttered stores without an official public disclosure.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Stores cut: 40 doors.
Backstory: The specialty chain continually reviews its store base as it updates new store experiences for both its Hollister and Abercrombie nameplates. Most of the newer store experiences are aimed at smaller footprints. The company has closed more than 475 locations since 2010.
A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts
Stores cut: the entire 145-door chain.
Backstory: The 34-year-old crafts retailer said on Nov. 26 that it was going out of business and would close all doors, most of which are located across the East Coast. Up to 40 sites will be taken over by The Michaels Cos.
Stores cut: all 54 stores.
Backstory: Around since 1971, women’s fast-fashion chain A’gaci just couldn’t make it to 2020. The 54-unit operation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection in August so it could conduct an orderly wind-down of operations. The filing was a Chapter 22 as it first filed for Chapter 11 in January 2018, and exited in August last year. Most Chapter 22s end up closing up shop.
American Eagle Outfitters
Stores cut: 11 stores.
Backstory: The doors closed include eight American Eagle stores and one Aerie stand-alone door. The company also closed two Tailgate Clothing Co. sites. The closures are part of the firm’s normal adjustment and review of its store base.
Ascena Retail Group Inc.
Stores cut: up to 667 stores this year, including all 650 Dressbarn doors.
Backstory: Ascena operates stores under the Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant nameplates. Earlier this year, the company sold a majority stake in Maurices, and in May said it would shutter its Dressbarn unit, which is currently in wind-down mode. The Dressbarn IP was sold, and the name is expected to resurface as an online retailer operated under new ownership.
Stores cut: all 222 locations.
Backstory: The plus-size retailer is another Chapter 22, having been acquired by Versa Capital Management in 2012 during its first tour in bankruptcy court. It filed its second Chapter 11 petition in August.
Barneys New York
Stores cut: all 22 locations.
Backstory: The luxury retailer filed a bankruptcy petition in August, closing five smaller concept locations and seven warehouse outlet doors. But it couldn’t attract a going-concern buyer that would keep seven existing stores in operation. The IP eventually sold to brand management firm Authentic Brands Group. Barneys was also the victim of the Chapter 22 curse, having filed its first bankruptcy court petition back in 1996. Since its exit in 1999 from bankruptcy proceedings, the company has changed owners several times.
Stores cut: 33 stores.
Backstory: The company filed for bankruptcy court protection in January. The company and 23 stores were sold in bankruptcy court to the company’s founder, Bob Bernstein, and his son, former company CEO David Bernstein.
Bed Bath & Beyond Inc.
Stores cut: 60 doors.
Backstory: On April 12, the home retailer said it would close 40 stores as part of its turnaround strategy, and now plans to shutter 20 more doors.
Stores cut: up to 30 over a two-year period.
Backstory: The store closures are part of a plan to focus more on off-mall locations.
Stores cut: 25 planned for 2019.
Backstory: Last year, the company announced plans to close 115 underperforming stores over a five-year period.
Stores cut: all 512 stores.
Backstory: The women’s specialty chain initially said it would shutter 94 doors when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection on Feb. 4. A month later, the retailer said it would begin going-out-of-business sales and close all stores by the end of April.
Stores cut: all 261 stores.
Backstory: The company filed its second bankrutpcy court petition in July, the second filing in two years.
Chico’s FAS Inc.
Stores cut: At least 250 stores over the next three years.
Backstory: In a retail strategy shift to focus more on digital, the company said most of the stores will close in years two and three as leases expire. Closures will be across its Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma nameplates.
The Children’s Place
Stores cut: Between 40 and 45 doors this year.
Backstory: Operating just over 1,000 stores, the children’s retailer last year said it wanted to shutter 300 doors by 2020. It also acquired the Gymboree IP out of bankruptcy, and plans to open stores under the Gymboree name in the spring.
Christopher & Banks Corp.
Stores cut: Between 30 to 40 stores will close this year.
Backstory: The chain has over 450 stores and, as part of a store-base rationalization plan, the company will close 30 to 40 locations over the next two-and-a-half-years.
CVS Health Corp.
Stores cut: 46 locations, with another 22 slated in 2020.
Backstory: On May 2, the drugstore chain said was rationalizing its store base as it shifts its business away from stores toward health care services.
Stores cut: 201 stores in the U.S., plus an additional 235 still to be decided.
Backstory: The company filed for bankruptcy court protection in October and had planned to shutter 201 stores. It has since inked a $50 million deal with brand management firm Marquee Brands for the IP. With no going-concern buyer stepping up to the plate to acquire the retailer, the IP will transfer to Marquee, and Destination Maternity’s remaining doors are expected to shut down unless Marquee can find an operator for the store base. Nameplates include Destination Maternity, Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod.
E.L.F. Beauty Inc.
Stores cut: 22 stores.
Backstory: E.L.F. elected to focus on its online business and wholesale distribution after a fourth-quarter sales miss.
Stores cut: 390 locations.
Backstory: On March 7, parent company Dollar Tree said it would pare back the store count at Family Dollar, hoping the move would improve its bottom line.
Stores cut: 111 U.S. stores, plus “most” of its stores in Asia.
Backstory: The fast-fashion chain filed for bankruptcy court protection in October and originally planned to close up to 178 stores in the U.S., and a total of 350 doors globally. It has since lowered the U.S. store closure count by about 60 doors.
Francesca’s Holdings Corp.
Stores cut: up to 20 stores.
Backstory: The Houston-based women’s apparel and accessories chain said on May 3 that it would close at least 20 stores and up to 40 doors. In January, the retailer said it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a sale of the company.
Stores cut: all 568 doors.
Backstory: The discounter said on April 11 it would close nearly one-third of its stores under its Fred’s Dollar Store nameplate. But then it went on to post disappointing fourth-quarter results and indicated in a regulatory filing that it was considering a sale of non-core assets. In September, the company decided to liquidate operations.
Stores cut: 180 to 200 stores around the world.
Backstory: The retailer of video games, which has over 5,000 stores globally, is also facing competition from online retailers.
Stores cut: 230 Gap nameplate doors.
Backstory: The company, which is spinning off its Old Navy business, is hoping the spinoff and store closing at core Gap doors will help that part of the business become more profitable.
G-III Apparel Group
Stores cut: 150 by year end.
Backstory: The store closures represent 40 percent of the company’s Bass and Wilsons nameplates. G-III’s retail business has been a money loser and the company has plans to move faster and deeper on store closures next year.
Stores cut: up to 900 stores over the next three years.
Backstory: The retailer closed 192 doors in the first half, with plans to focus the closures at its store base in mall locations.
Stores cut: All stores, about 900 total.
Backstory: The company filed for bankruptcy court protection on Jan. 14, and said it would shutter doors for its Gymboree, Crazy 8 and Janie & Jack nameplates.
Stores cut: 23 stores, including Fifth Ave. flagship, and e-commerce site.
Backstory: Parent company L Brands said in September it would shut down the operation. On Jan. 17, doors to the Fifth Ave. flagship closed at 5 p.m. for the last time.
Stores cut: 160 in 2019.
Backstory: Although the fast-fashion chain said on Feb. 4 that it plans to close 160 doors this year, it will open 355 new stores as well.
Hudson’s Bay Co.
Stores cut: Up to 20 Saks Off Fifth stores, and a complete shutdown of its Home Outfitters operation.
Backstory: The retailer has been overhauling its operations in a bid to improve profitability, one that included the closure of several Lord & Taylor stores, including the flagship location on Fifth Ave. in Manhattan when it sold the building to WeWorks. The closure of up to 20 Saks Off Fifth sites will allow the company to focus on its best locations. It also shut down the Home Outfitters business in Canada.
J.C. Penney Co. Inc.
Stores cut: 27 doors.
Backstory: The mass merchandizer is closing 18 stores at the core J.C. Penney nameplate, including the three it identified in January, plus nine ancillary home and furniture stores as CEO Jill Soltau moves away from appliances and furniture distribution to focus on apparel, which has higher margins. The pressure is now on in making sure the right fashion mix is in the stores, season after season after season.
Stores cut: about 20 stores planned.
Backstory: The retailer closed six at the beginning of the year, part of the group slated for closure announced last year. The retailer is also on track to pursue its spin-off of the denim-forward Madewell concept.
Stores cut: about 93 stores.
Backstory: Between the nameplate’s ownership under Sears Holdings Corp. while under bankruptcy court protection earlier in the year and subsequent ownership under Transform Holdco., the store count for Kmart will likely decrease further in 2020.
Stores cut: four stores closing.
Backstory: The department store said on Jan. 13, after disclosing decelerating same-store sales over the holiday season, that it plans to close four stores.
L Brands Inc.
Stores cut: about 77 doors.
Backstory: The company’s Victoria’s Secret business has been in trouble for some time now, hence the closing of 53 Victoria’s Secret doors in 2019. L Brands is the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, Pink and Bath & Body Works. It also plans to shutter 24 Bath & Body Works stores this year.
LifeWay Christian Resources
Stores cut: all 170 stores.
Backstory: The religious book store retailer said on March 20 it will close all brick-and-mortar sites so it can focus on its online business.
Stores cut: 20 doors, including two Manhattan locations.
Backstory: The company said a year ago that it would shed 50 underperforming stores in North America.
Lord & Taylor
Stores cut: 10 stores.
Backstory: Hudson’s Bay Co., when it was still the parent company to Lord & Taylor, said last year it would close 10 stores, including the Fifth Ave. flagship because the 11-story building that housed the store was being sold to WeWork. The Lord & Taylor flagship closed its doors on Jan. 3. The retail operation, which was sold to subscription-based firm Le Tote, still has other stores in operation, including a website and a presence on walmart.com.
Stores cut: eight stores.
Backstory: The locations disclosed on Jan. 10 are part of 100 planned closures that the retailer announced in August 2016.
Stores cut: six stores.
Backstory: Normal adjustment to store base.
Office Depot Inc.
Stores cut: 145 doors.
Backstory: The office supply big box said on April 22 that it would close 50 doors under its Office Depot and Office Max nameplates, but then said last month it had closed 55 doors and would shed another 90 stores.
Stores cut: 55 stores.
Backstory: Although it initially planned to close 45 stores this year, the company in August upped that count by another 10 doors. The retailer has also posted lackluster sales, and cited helium shortages as a contributing factor.
Stores cut: about 2,500 doors.
Backstory: The company, also a victim of the Chapter 22 curse, filed a Chapter 11 petition on Feb. 18 so it can conduct an orderly winding down of operations. The international doors and franchised operations are not impacted by the liquidation and will remain in business.
Stores cut: all 104 locations.
Backstory: The retailer’s parent company, Advanced Sports Enterprises, had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection last year.
Pier 1 Imports Inc.
Stores cut: up to 145 could close.
Backstory: Sales and profitability have been disappointing at the home furnishings retailer.
Stores cut: the Calvin Klein flagship store on Madison Ave. in Manhattan.
Backstory: The store closure was part of the realignment of the North American operations for the brand, PVH said on Jan. 10. It is now focusing on a digital strategy for the brand.
Stores cut: 31 doors.
Backstory: The company plans to close 19 New York & Co. stores, four Fashion to Figure doors and shutter four outlet locations in just the fourth quarter alone. Earlier in the year, it closed an additional three doors under the New York & Co. nameplate and one outlet store.
Stores cut: 12 U.S. locations.
Backstory: The company shuttered its U.S. operations on March 29, with plans to liquidate the business. Included in the 12 locations are eight stores and four outlets. The Italian fashion house has sought court approval in Milan for a restructuring plan. The brand was subsequently acquired by Vision Investment Co., the investment arm of Dubai billionaire Hussain Sajwani.
Stores cut: 123 locations.
Backstory: Whether operating under its former parent, bankrupt Sears Holdings Corp., or under new ownership with Transform Holdco, the general thinking in the retail community is that more doors will likely be closing in 2020.
Stores cut: all 371 stores.
Backstory: The chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection on Jan. 16, with the expectation of shuttering just 38 doors by April. It subsequently elected to shut down operations.
Signet Jewelers Ltd.
Stores cut: 150 locations.
Backstory: The company said on April 3 that doors to be closed will be under the Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared The Galleria of Jewelry nameplates during fiscal 2020. In fiscal 2019, the company shuttered 262 stores under all three nameplates plus Piercing Pagoda. Sales have been disappointing and the closures will be focused primarily in mall locations.
Stores cut: 22 locations.
Backstory: The supermarket chain on Feb. 22 said it would close 22 doors. That announcement came less than a year after exiting Chapter 11 proceedings, during which it closed 130 stores.
Stores cut: 40 to 60 doors.
Backstory: The retailer is converting its business model from department store operator to off-pricer. It plans to shutter 40 to 60 underperforming department store locations this year, shrinking its footprint in the channel while converting many of its doors to its off-price Gordmans banner.
Stores cut: more than 200 stores.
Backstory: This retail concept is best known for selling items that can be engraved. The company filed for Chapter 11 in February, closing more than half its stores.
Stores cut: six stores.
Backstory: The mass discounter said in October that it would close six stores by the end of February.
Stores cut: all 11 U.S. stores
Backstory: The retailer’s parent Arcadia Group filed for the equivalent of bankruptcy court protection in the U.K., and the U.S. subsidiary followed suit.
Stores cut: up to 50 of its 110 locations by 2021.
Backstory: The retailer said on March 13 when it posted fourth-quarter earnings that the full-line store cuts are part of its three-year plan dubbed Vision 20/20. There are no plans to close any of its 52 outlet stores.
Walgreens Boots Alliance
Stores cut: about 200 U.S. doors.
Backstory: The planned closures were announced in August and represent about 3 percent of its store base, which totals roughly 10,000 drugstores across the U.S. It is also planning to close 200 Boots pharmacies located in the U.K.
Stores cut: 20 total in the U.S.
Backstory: The company is closing a combination of Supercenters and Neighborhood Market stores, plus an additional two locations in Quebec this year.
Stores cut: 30 in total.
Backstory: The adjustment is part of its normal store base review. The company operates the Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and West Elm nameplates.
Whole Foods Markets
Stores cut: nine locations.
Backstory: The plan to expand to 1,200 doors appears to be on hold. It currently operates just under 400 stores, and all 12 of its stores branded 365 have been converted to Whole Foods Markets doors.
Stores cut: 44 locations.
Backstory: The furniture retailer initially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection on March 11, and identified 21 doors for closure on March 21. It subsequently shut down all operations.