The store closures just keep coming, from Dressbarn, CVS, Party City, Pier 1 Imports and more.
Already, more than 7,150 store closures have been announced by U.S. retailers in 2019, according to Coresight Research. And it's not even June. Last year, Coresight tracked 5,524 store closures, down more than 30% from an all-time record 8,139 closures announced in 2017. Meanwhile, Coresight has tracked 2,726 store opening announcements so far this year.
With the threat of additional tariffs taking effect on consumer-facing goods like apparel and footwear imported from China hanging over retailers, things could get even worse, according to one analyst. UBS' Jay Sole recently said in a note to clients: "The market is not realizing how much brick & mortar retail is incrementally struggling and how new 25% tariffs could force widespread store closures. ... We think potential 25% tariffs on Chinese imports could accelerate pressure on these [companies'] profit margins to the point where major store closures become a real possibility."
The store closures already announced this year also mean more bad news for U.S. mall owners, which have already been struggling with traffic to department stores, their anchor tenants, largely on the demise. So these mall owners are having to get creative, bringing in more food options, and even apartments and office spaces, to their properties.
Here are some of the biggest retailers that have announced store closures so far this year.
Dressbarn, owned by Ascena Retail Group, is going out of business. There's no timeline yet on when Dressbarn's roughly 650 stores across the country are expected to shut. But Ascena said it's beginning to wind down that business entirely, and then will turn its focus to its more profitable brands Ann Taylor and Loft.
Fast-fashion chain Topshop is shutting all 11 of its stores in the U.S. The retailer's London-based parent company, Arcadia Group, recently filed for bankruptcy protection, citing "challenging retail headwinds, changing consumer habits and ever-increasing online competition." Topshop's U.S. stores are in major markets like New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Miami. The company hasn't yet said when it expects the 11 stores to close.
Party City is planning to shut about 45 stores in the U.S. this year. That's more than normal. The party-supply retailer had been closing 10 to 15 stores, on average, annually. Following the announcement, some speculated a global helium shortage was straining its business of selling helium balloons for birthday parties, weddings and other special occasions. But the retailer recently said it secured a new source of helium, adding that the decision to close more stores in 2019 was unrelated to the global shortage.
Pier 1 Imports is planning to shut about 45 stores in 2019, potentially more. When the home goods retailer reported earnings in April, it said it could close "up to 15% of [its] stores if the company is unable to achieve performance goals, sales targets, and reductions in occupancy and other costs." Pier 1 shuttered 30 stores in 2018, leaving it with about 1,000 locations in total across the U.S. Many shoppers have navigated to Amazon and other online retailers to buy things like dishes, wall art and the small furniture accessories that Pier 1 sells.
Fred's said in April that by the end of this month, it will have shut 159 stores across the U.S., or almost 30% of its fleet of 557 stores nationwide. The discount retailer said at the time, "most of these stores have near‐term lease expirations and limited remaining lease obligations." Then, just earlier this month, it said it plans to shutter another 104 Fred's stores by the end of June, bringing the total closures to 263. Fred's, which sells groceries and other everyday items like cleaning supplies, is another victim of e-commerce's ascent.
CVS is closing 46 of its "underperforming" locations across the country this year. That's still less than 1% of CVS' roughly 9,600 stores nationwide. But the drugstore chain, like many retailers today, must work toward culling its massive real estate footprint and adding unique services to stores to keep customers coming back. As it shuts some stores, CVS is adding hundreds of SmileDirectClub shops inside certain CVS locations, offering shoppers a cheaper way to straighten their teeth.
Gap Inc. is planning to shut 230 of its namesake brand's stores over the next two years. This fiscal year, Gap said it expects to close about 50 company-owned stores, net of any new openings or re-positionings. The apparel retailer in February announced its plans to split its business into two publicly traded companies, one that includes Gap, Banana Republic, Intermix and its women's and men's athleisure brands Athleta and Hill City, and another with just Old Navy.
L Brands' Victoria's Secret is planning to shut 53 stores this year, as the lingerie retailer struggles to appeal to women with its outdated and over-the-top bras and underwear. On average, the company has been closing roughly 15 stores each year. Meantime, online-based lingerie brands like Adore Me and Lively are opening up stores, potentially making it more difficult for Victoria's Secret to win back market share.
L Brands' Bath & Body Works also has some closures planned. The retailer said it intends to shut two dozen locations this year. But it will also be opening 46 stores and renovating more than 170 locations. As Victoria's Secret's sales have been in a slump, Bath & Body Works has been a bright spot for L Brands. The company reported this month that Bath & Body Work's same-store sales surged 13% during the fiscal first quarter. The upbeat news led L Brands to hike its profit outlook for the full year.
Teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co. said it plans to close up to 40 stores during fiscal 2019, after closing 29 locations last year. The company has, meanwhile, been working toward reducing the size of its stores and remodeling existing locations. Abercrombie also said it plans to open additional stores this year, to make up for the closures, after opening 22 stores in 2018.
Teen apparel retailer Charlotte Russe is liquidating and closing all of its stores, after filing for bankruptcy protection in February. At the time, it was only planning to shut 94 stores. But now, the company will be closing its more than 500 locations across the country, after a liquidator won the auction for its business in bankruptcy court. Many of its stores are found within shopping malls.
Payless ShoeSource filed for bankruptcy in February and has started the process of shutting all 2,500 of its stores across North America. Payless struggled with a heavy debt load and also said in court documents it faced "unanticipated" delays from its suppliers in recent years that forced it to sell inventory at deep discounts.
When kids clothing company Gymboree filed for bankruptcy protection in January, it said it would close all 800 of its Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores. It's since sold the rights associated with both Gymboree and its Crazy 8 brand to Children's Place, while Gap has acquired Gymboree's Janie and Jack brand's intellectual property, its website, customer data and other assets.
Discount chain Dollar Tree said it plans to close 390 Family Dollar stores this year while it renovates 1,000 other locations. After buying Family Dollar in 2015, Dollar Tree has been left with the task of improving the appearance of those stores, many of which are run down. It's also been trying to cut costs.
Women's clothing retailer Chico's said it will shut between 60 to 80 stores in fiscal 2019. The company overall intends to close at least 250 stores in the U.S. over the next three years. It joins a list of apparel companies that are struggling to stay afloat today, as more sales move online and shoppers are lured to fast-fashion brands like Zara and H&M.
Department store chain J.C. Penney said it plans to close 18 department stores, in addition to nine home and furniture shops, in 2019. The company has already hinted there will be additional closures to come in 2020 and beyond, as it works to whittle away at its massive real estate footprint. It's hoping to find a turnaround strategy that will allow it to avoid the same fate of Sears and Bon-Ton.
Bed Bath & Beyond plans to close at least 40 locations this year, while opening 15 stores. It said that unless it's able to "negotiate more favorable lease terms with our landlords," the number of closures will grow. The company, which also owns Christmas Tree Shops, also recently lost its CEO Steven Temares, who resigned earlier this month, as activist investors continue to push for changes at Bed Bath & Beyond to try to turn the struggling business around.