U.S. store closures are accelerating in 2019 as online commerce reshapes the industry. Already closings this year have exceeded the total store closings last year, according to Coresight Research, a global research and advisory firm that tracks store openings and closings. Retailers have announced 5,994 store closures as of early April, according to Coresight Research, compared with 5,864 closings for all of 2018.
Many of the retailers announcing store closings are mall mainstays such as Payless ShoeSource and children’s retailer Gymboree. Both of those companies announced this year they are filing for bankruptcy and are closing all of their stores. Apparel chain Charlotte Russe, which also filed for bankruptcy this year, is also shuttering all of its locations.
Other chains, such as The Gap Inc. and L Brands, are also reducing their store counts. Though one of the Gap’s brands, Old Navy, is one of the most successful fashion brands in the country, the Gap brand itself is not doing as well and is closing stores. L Brands, parent of women’s intimate apparel company Victoria’s Secret, a popular brand among millennials, is also closing stores.
Paring stores and reducing a retail footprint can be a dangerous strategy for retailers. Sears Holdings, parent of the company that virtually defined retail in the 20th century, failed to adapt to the changing retail landscape and shuttered stores. The remaining stores have been plagued by empty shelves and poor customer service. Though these issues have tainted the brand, Sears is still not among the most hated companies in America.
The retrenchment of traditional retailers is showing no signs of abating, especially since many retail experts say the United States is still “overstored.”
To identify the companies closing the most stores, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed major U.S. retailers that have announced store closings for 2019. All listed store closings are based on company announcements of closures that will take place at least partially in 2019. Store counts represent the total number of stores worldwide, unless specific geography is noted, and the come from company annual reports and corporate websites. Store counts represent the most recent available figures and do not necessarily factor in closings. Store closing values are the number of stores closed or announced; it is not a net value that accounts for store openings. Only one parent company is listed for each retailer. In the case of companies who own multiple retail brands and do not specify which will close, we only listed their most well known brands.