Toys R Us. Sam's Club. Sears. Now, Bon-Ton.
The amount of retail space going dark in 2018 is on pace to break a record, as companies with massive floorplans are either trimming back their store counts or liquidating entirely.
Department store chain Bon-Ton earlier this week was forced into liquidation, after a plan to restructure the business and keep some stores open fell through. The retailer, with a dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, was operating more than 200 stores encompassing roughly 24 million square feet.
Since 2008, commercial real estate services firm CoStar Group has been tracking the amount of retail square footage slated to close annually. Already in April, more than 90 million square feet of space is expected to be vacated, including Bon-Ton's stores, in 2018. That's easily on track to surpass a record 105 million square feet of space shuttered last year, said Suzanne Mulvee, a senior real estate strategist at CoStar. All it will take is another handful of closures.
"I think there's probably a couple more announcements coming" in 2018, Mulvee told CNBC. "It wouldn't surprise me to see a few more significant announcements from department stores, and more chains that continue to struggle that are unprofitable."