As brick-and-mortar businesses struggle to compete against e-commerce giants, the number of closures among department stores and national and international brands are on the rise.
Over the past couple of years, brick-and-mortar retailers have shuttered a record-breaking amount of square footage — and, sadly, that trend is expected to surge on throughout 2019, affecting nearly every category from electronics to clothing and home goods.
Here’s a look at some of the businesses that are shutting some — or all — of their stores this year.
Dressbarn announced on May 20, 2019, that it will gradually close all of its 650 stores nationwide.
Throughout the closing process, all stores will operate normally. Customers can still use gift cards, return items, and exchange purchases with no interruption or change in policy. Individual locations will share their closing sale plans and a timeline for winding each business down.
Dressbarn won’t immediately close any stores or lay off any of its 6,800 associates. The company will help its employees make the transition and expects to retain its relationships with vendors, stakeholders and suppliers.
“For more than 50 years, Dressbarn has served women’s fashion needs, and we thank all of our dedicated associates for their commitment to Dressbarn and our valued customers,” said Steven Taylor, Dressbarn’s chief financial officer, in a statement. “This decision was difficult, but necessary, as the Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment.”
Of all the retailers shuttering locations this year, Payless ShoeSource accounts for the largest number of closings. The company is shutting down more than 2,500 stores, which are currently holding liquidation sales to get rid of their merchandise. Though some locations are staying open through May, others will be closed as soon as the end of March.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-January, children’s clothing retailer Gymboree Group Inc. also announced that it will be shutting down around 800 Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company has stopped accepting online sales, although the final weeks of liquidation sales are still ongoing in stores. This is the second time in two years that Gymboree filed for bankruptcy, having already closed several stores in 2017.
In March, Charlotte Russe confirmed that the entire chain — encompassing of more than 500 nationwide stores — will close. Though 94 stores from an earlier closure announcement were already set to shutter, the remaining locations will officially close their doors by April 30. Online sales have already stopped, although customers can currently shop in-store liquidation sales at various locations.
Sadly, these stores may soon be a thing of the past. Discount retailer Dollar Tree says it will be shuttering as many as 390 Family Dollar stores this year — forcing consumers to find other sources for inexpensive personal care items and other essentials. The company will also change the name of roughly 200 other branches. And that’s not the only change it’s making to remaining locations — it may soon start experimenting with charging more than a $1 in some locations.
After announcing plans to close almost 70 percent of its branches by mid-May, Shopko has announced that it’s closing for good. The company, which filed for bankruptcy in January, hoped to find a buyer to help save its remaining locations, but was unable to do so. It now plans to liquidate its assets and close all of its stores by June.
Gap Inc. will shutter roughly 230 of its namesake stores — about 50 percent of its locations — worldwide over the next two years. The corporation also plans to spin sister company Old Navy into its own separate business, as the store has continuously topped Gap and Banana Republic in sales. The remaining Gap stores, along with Banana Republic, Athleta, Intermix and Hill City, will continue to operate under the name NewCo.
H&M may not be the mall staple it once was after this year. In an effort to optimize business, the clothing retailer has announced it will close 160 stores in 2019. The move comes as the U.S. continues to be a challenging market for the brand, which has seen steadier growth overseas. With that in mind, H&M does also plan to open 355 new stores this year, but a majority of them will be located outside of Europe and the United States.
As it announced last summer, Starbucks is permanently shutting down 150 underperforming stores this year. That’s about triple the number of stores it typically closes in a fiscal year. According to the company, the closures will mostly take place in big cities and oversaturated markets, where branches of the global coffee chain are cannibalizing each other’s business.
The Children’s Place
The Children’s Place has previously announced its intention to close 300 underperforming stores by 2020. According to Forbes, the children’s retailer had shuttered 191 stores by the end of 2018 and still has a little more than 100 locations left to go. The company is also investing heavily in boosting its online presence in order to increase profitability.
Bad news for cyclists: One of the nation’s largest bike retailers has shut down for good. All 104 locations of Performance Bicycle have been shuttered, with the last closure scheduled on March 2. Parent company Advanced Sports Enterprises filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall. Though the corporation initially hoped to save at least half of the discount chain’s locations with renegotiated leases, it ultimately opted to fold the brand altogether.
In early 2019, Sears Holdings, which owns both its namesake store and Kmart, revealed it will close approximately 89 stores by March. The full list of closing stores shows that closures will affect locations throughout the U.S., although Texas and Florida saw the biggest impact, where each state had seven locations shutting down.
Well-known home and garden store Lowe’s has already closed 51 underperforming stores — 20 in the U.S. and 31 in Canada — this year. The company made its plans known in late 2018, with a target date of Feb. 1, 2019, to complete the store closures. The move came not long after former J.C. Penney CEO Marvin R. Ellison took over the company, following the retirement of longtime CEO Robert Niblock.
Vera Bradley is rethinking its business strategy, refocusing its attention on licensing rather than brick-and-mortar stores. The brand will be selling its home products via various other retail chains, including Bed Bath and Beyond and Macy’s. As for its full-line stores, the company plans to close up to 50 of its 110 locations by 2021, when many of its leases will expire. But customers may still be able to visit a Vera Bradley store — as of publication, the company’s 52 factory outlets were set to remain open.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch plans to close up 40 stores by next February, the majority of which are located in the U.S. That’s a slight increase from the 29 stores it shuttered in 2018. But it’s not all bad news. According to Business Insider, a spokesperson said the company will continue to invest in its stores by “delivering approximately 85 new experiences, including 40 new stores, with continued reduction in overall square footage.”
Christopher & Banks
As revealed in late 2018, women’s retailer Christopher & Banks plans to close 30 to 40 stores over the course of the next two years. However, that doesn’t mean that sales are down across the board. The company has confirmed that it has seen a rise in e-commerce and expects net sales to increase this year.
Victoria’s Secret closed 30 stores in 2018, and more closures are coming this year. In February, parent company L Brand announced that 53 more locations of the lingerie and womenswear retailer will shutter. The closings equal about 4 percent of the company’s 1,143 Victoria’s Secret stores worldwide.
All two dozen Henri Bendel stores nationwide closed in early 2019. Parent company L Brands announced in fall 2018 that Bendel’s website and locations — including the iconic Fifth Avenue location in New York — would be closing. The corporation made the decision to focus on its brands with greater potential, including Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.
Chico’s FAS, the parent company of women’s clothing chain Chico’s, recently confirmed it will close 250 locations over the next three years. The closure will affect not only its namesake stores but also certain locations of its two other retail brands, White House Black Market and Soma. The exact locations of the affected stores have yet to be confirmed.
Like many other retailers, e.l.f. Cosmetics is also ditching its brick-and-mortar stores to focus on its digital presence. The beauty brand will close all 22 of its locations by the end of March. But if you love their products, there’s no need to panic — the e.l.f. website remains active, and the company’s products will continue to sell in various drugstores nationwide.
J.C. Penney has been a mall staple for decades, but, like many other major retail chains, it’s dealt with struggling sales in recent months. Following a lackluster holiday season and a drop in stock value, the company announced it plans to close 18 of its department stores this year. It will also shutter nine of its furniture stores, bringing its total closures up to 27.
Upscale home furniture store Z Gallerie is also among the many retailers to file for bankruptcy in recent months. The chain is reportedly hoping to find a buyer that can help keep the company in business. In the meantime, it will close 17 stores, about a fifth of its 75 locations nationwide.
As part of a turnaround plan to revitalize the company and boost its online sales, Destination Maternity Corp. is shrinking its retail presence. The chain will close between 42 and 67 locations by the end of the year, with the hopes of reducing its store expenses and expanding its digital presence. Per USA Today, it also plans to test smaller locations “with reduced square footage to drive higher productivity.”
In late 2018, Beauty Brands announced the impending closure of 25 stores. The company, which also cut down on its corporate staff, filed for bankruptcy in January. In its filing, it noted that the brand suffered from the rising costs of operating as “a predominantly brick and mortar retailer.”
After filing for bankruptcy in February, Things Remembered has found a buyer to save some of its nationwide locations. Enesco LLC purchased 176 stores from the longtime retailer, which sells products for engravement and personalization. However, the purchase will still leave the company a much smaller version of itself. At the time of bankruptcy, the chain had 450 locations — meaning over 250 stores won’t stay open.
Ascena Retail, the parent company to various womenswear brands including Loft, Ann Taylor, Dress Barn and Lane Bryant, has seen a decline in overall sales in recent years. To counteract the loss, the company plans to close hundreds of locations across all of its brands. About 667 stores are targeted for closure overall, with 400 of those expected to be shuttered by July 2019.
Supermarkets aren’t immune to struggling sales. Southeastern Grocers, which oversees markets like Bi-Lo, Winn-Dixie and Harveys, announced plans to close 22 stores on or before March 25. The decision comes less than a year after the company emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which initially led to the closure of 94 stores. Of the three brands, Bi-Lo will be hit hardest, with 13 of its stores shutting down.
Lord & Taylor
After more than 100 years in business, Lord & Taylor closed its flagship store on Fifth Avenue in 2018 — and sadly, there are more store closures on the way. As many as 10 more Lord & Taylor stores are expected to close through 2019, although the locations have yet to be publicly disclosed.
Foot Locker Inc. will close 165 stores this year, as the company announced in March. It will also spend millions to upgrade its remaining properties. The move is part of an effort to continue improving profit margins for the shoe retailer, which surprised shareholders by performing better than expected in the last quarter of 2018.
Macy’s is shuttering eight stores in early 2019 as part of a series of planned closures announced several years ago. The closures will impact two locations in California, as well as one store in each of the following states: Wyoming, Washington, Indiana, Massachusetts, Virginia and New York.
J. Crew can’t seem to stay out of the headlines in recent months. After losing its CEO at the end of 2018, the brand started off the new year by closing six stores in January. The closures were part of an ongoing plan to shutter 30 stores, which the company initially announced last summer. It’s unclear how many more closures are necessary to complete the goal.
To avoid falling into the same pitfalls of other mall-centered retailers, Kohl’s is closing four stores that are either based in or close to malls this year. The company described these shops as “lower performing” locations and said employees were either offered jobs at another Kohl’s location or a severance package. But it seems the closures are more of a preventative measure than an urgent one. The brand will keep its overall store count the same by opening four smaller-format locations.