This week, children’s clothing chain Gymboree is expected to file for bankruptcy protection and begin shuttering its 900 U.S. locations. The company had been in the process of closing hundreds of stores for months, but the mass liquidation was not enough cover liabilities. These closings are just the latest in a stream of closure 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 to go out of business. Since the beginning of 2018, major companies, including Mattress Firm, Brookstone, Rockport, and Sears, have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
In a handful of cases, store closings are the result of corporate mergers and acquisitions. In some instances, companies appear to be merely culling their most unprofitable stores while adding new ones elsewhere. 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 2019. Retailers shutting the fewest locations — less than a few dozen — tend to be those companies attempting to improve profitability. Companies closing several hundred locations, on the other hand, are either being bought out or are declaring bankruptcy and liquidating assets.