Retailers, fearing violence due to the outcome of the election, are caught between a rock and a hard place. They can shutter some of their locations to keep them from being vandalized and lose sales in the process. Alternatively, they can keep their locations open, probably gain sales and risk that some locations may be damaged or destroyed.
Store closures have another trade-off. Locations represent a large portion of the sales of brick-and-mortar retailers. However, the pandemic has driven many customers and sales online. A shutdown of stores may trigger more e-commerce. The math is difficult. Most large retailers have posted huge losses since March. Meanwhile, COVID-19 is spreading rapidly again.
Some of America’s largest retailers have turned to selectively shutting down stores. Time will tell, soon, if they made the right decision.
Tiffany, the luxury retailer, has 326 stores, mostly in America. It is one of the oldest high-end brands in America.
Macy’s cut back department store locations well before the election, as the pandemic destroyed sales. It has 771 stores, including Bloomingdales. Macy’s stores are often in city centers, which could make them particularly vulnerable.
Target is America’s second-largest retailer by sales, after Walmart. It has over 1,800 stores. The company has done relatively well recently, as people shop for basic needs and many have flocked online.
CVS is one of America’s largest retailers, if not the largest. It has just shy of 10,000 locations.
Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue also have closed stores, but for brief periods.
Notably absent from these lists, for unknown reasons, are some of America’s largest retailers, particularly Walmart. It is the biggest retailer in the nation based on revenue and has almost 4,800 stores. Many of these are in suburbs or even semirural locations.
Finally, also missing are the largest food retailers. There have been no announcements about McDonald’s or Starbucks. Perhaps they reason their locations have nothing worth stealing.
Unrest has changed the math for retailers for the second time this year. First, it was the pandemic, and now the threat of violence.