Sears Holdings Corp. said Thursday that it identified 100 unprofitable Sears and Kmart stores from which the struggling retailer will close 63 locations and begin store-closing sales “in the near future.” In April, Subway, the fast food company with the most locations in the world, announced it would be shuttering roughly 500 of those stores in the United States. These closings are just the latest in a stream of announcements by major retailers.
In what many have dubbed the “retail apocalypse,” brick-and-mortar retailers across the United States have been forced to reduce their footprint in order to maintain profitability in recent years. In the most extreme cases, several well-known brands have had no choice but go out of business entirely. Since the beginning of 2017, major companies, including RadioShack, Payless ShoeSource, Toys “R” Us, and Bon-Ton, have filed for bankruptcy protection.
So far, trouble for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers shows no sign of abating. This year, over a dozen well-known companies are shuttering locations nationwide.
In a handful of cases, store closings are the result of corporate mergers and acquisitions. In some cases, companies appear to be merely culling their most unprofitable stores while adding new stores elsewhere. This is the case with Subway, which is opening over 1,000 new locations. However, many retailers on this list are closing locations as a result of falling revenue, largely brought on by the convenience and increasing popularity of online shopping.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed publicly available financial documents and corporate announcements to identify the retailers closing the most stores in 2018. Retailers closing the fewest locations — less than a few dozen — tend to be those companies attempting to improve profitability. Companies shuttering several hundred locations, on the other hand, are either being bought out or are declaring bankruptcy and liquidating assets.