As 2019 winds on, the store closure announcements keep coming.
In what has been dubbed the “retail apocalypse” in which store closures have continued to multiply at an alarming rate since the recession of 2008, many store fronts have shuttered their doors, leaving abandoned strip malls across the U.S.
Just this week, Coresight Research announced that nearly 6,000 store closures have been reported since Jan. 1 this year, eclipsing last year’s total store closure number, with about 2,647 opening announcements. In 2018 around this time, about 5,864 stores closed with 3,239 store openings.
Just last week home décor and goods retailer Bed, Bath & Beyond announced it would close 40 stores and open 15. Previously, the New Jersey-based retailer closed 21 stores in its third quarter and opened just three. According to Coresight Research’s report, three major retailers make up about 61 percent of the store closures for 2019: Payless Shoes, Gymboree and Charlotte Russe. All three stores filed for bankruptcy protection previously, Payless and Gymboree in 2017 and Charlotte Russe just this year, before announcing the closures.
CNN Business reported that retail store bankruptcies are “piling up and chains have aggressively closed under-performing stores.”
“Payless, Gymboree, Charlotte Russe and Shopko have all filed for bankruptcy this year and will close a combined 3,720 stores, according to the report,” CNN Business reported. “The majority of those are because of Payless, which filed for its second bankruptcy in February and said at the time it would shutter 2,100 stores in the United States.”
The New York Times reported that stores surviving the massive closures seem to opt for online shopping, according to John Mercer, senior analyst at Coresight Research.
“For a long time, companies have talked about the squeeze in the middle of retail, but then you see the closure of a Payless,” Mercer told the New York Times. “There’s just so much choice now that it’s not so much always the middle.”
The New York Times reported that retailers are leaving their mall locations.
“Gap recently said that it would close 230 stores in the next two years, mostly as leases expire, as it tries to balance its online, outlet and regular sales,” The New York Times reported. “Victoria’s Secret plans to close 53 stores in North America this year, up from its usual culling of about 15 stores annually. The chain will have more than 900 stores.”
According to the New York Times, 2017 holds the record for store closures at 8,000 and 2019 has a way to go to beat it. Retailers are also still opening stores as well. Coresight Research found that discount retailers are doing well, such as Aldi, a discount grocery chain. Just this month, Aldi announced it would open 15 locations across southern California.
Source: CNN Business