Get ready for more “closing sale” signs in the windows of your local retailers.
Ascena Retail Group—which owns the Ann Taylor, Dress Barn, Loft, Lane Bryant, Justice, Maurices and Catherines stores—plans to shutter between 250 and 650 locations over the next two years.
Chief executive David Jaffe made the announcement during a conference call with investors Thursday, and he didn’t specify how many store closures will affect each brand. Ascena could not be immediately reached for comment.
Jaffe said 250 locations will definitely close down, and another 400 will close their doors unless the company can negotiate lower rents at those locations.
He said that the move is necessary to help the company traverse the deeply troubled brick-and-mortar retail market. Jaffe said Ascena is facing a “persistent traffic decline” and expects that to remain a “major headwind” for the company.
Ascena is far from the only company feeling the pressure. Stores that were once staples of American malls are failing rapidly, largely because of increasing competition from digital retailers like Amazon.
Earlier this week, Hudson’s Bay—owner of Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor—said it is cutting its workforce by 2,000 jobs.
Macy’s said earlier this year that it will close 68 stores and cut 10,000 jobs. In an effort to cut costs, Macy’s is also revamping its in-store experience to feature self-serve shoe and makeup departments. Taking a cue from stores like T.J. Maxx and Sephora, Macy’s tested the new shoe department model earlier this year. The test was a success, and the retailer will roll out the model to all Macy’s locations by August. It’s not clear how many, if any, Macy’s staffers will be out of work because of this change.
JCPenney is shutting down 138 stores by August. Bebe said it planned to shut down all of its stores by the end of May. While Bebe hopes to stay afloat via online sales, several other clothing retailers closed their doors for good this spring, including American Apparel, The Limited and Wet Seal.
GameStop said in March it will close more than 100 retail locations.
RadioShack has closed more than 1,000 stores in 2017, leaving the electronics retailer with just 70 stores nationwide. RadioShack filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in March 2017 and at the time announced it would close an estimated 200 stores.
The parent company of Kmart and Sears said in January it will shutter 150 stores. And as Sears discusses nearby store closings with local news sources, larger media companies have been compiling a list of additional closings that weren’t part of the January announcement.
Kmarts are closing their doors across Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and more. Sears has announced it is closing stores in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Texas, Utah West Virginia and more.
For the list of Sears and Kmart stores that are closing, visit this page.
And without their thriving tenants, malls have been hit hard by the retail woes. A recent report from Credit Suisse estimates 20 to 25 percent of American malls will close within the next five years. The primary reason stated in the report isn’t all that surprising: More people than ever are shopping online.
Credit Suisse estimates that a record 8,600 stores will close this year alone. That’s far more than the record 6,200 stores that closed in 2008, the first year of the Great Recession. The report also pointed to a “retail bubble” caused by years of new mall construction.
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Story by Jackie Wattles for CNN with additional reporting from Simplemost staff.