You thought last year was bad for chain stores? Around 9,000 went out of business in 2017 --- but 2018 is expected to be even worse! And, it has already started.

The huge shopping shift away from the mall and onto the smartphone is bringing even more going-out-of-business sales, store layoffs and empty big boxes.

We count down the 17 major retailers closing the most stores in 2018. When you hit the liquidation sales, use a cash-back credit card to save even more.

17. J.C. Penney

8 stores

After closing nearly 140 stores last year, J.C. Penney is at it again in 2018. The department store chain says eight locations, from California to New Jersey, will be out of business by May.

SALINAS, CA/USA - FEBRUARY 8, 2014: JC Penny store in Salinas California. J. C. Penney Company Inc. is a chain of American mid-range department stores based in Plano, Texas.
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

Penney's, which has been losing money for years, also plans to close a distribution center in Wisconsin this summer.

16. Macy’s

11 stores

Macy's closed around 70 of its department stores in 2017 and started off 2018 by announcing it would shut down nearly a dozen more.

Lafayette, IN - Circa July 2016: Macy's Department Store. Macy'??s, Inc. is one of the Nation's Premier Omnichannel Retailers IV
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock
Macy's started off 2018 by announcng it would close more stores.

The company says it wants to focus on its stores that are top moneymakers, and on its website. Macy’s has a strong presence online and is hungry to win over more shoppers there.

15. Sears

39 stores

Sears’ stock price has been on a steady decline for more than a decade and dropped from about $40 a share in June 2015 to hovering around $3.50 in early 2018. (Yikes!)

HDR image, Sears retailer storefront entrance, shopping mall - Saugus, Massachusetts USA - September 2, 2017
QualityHD / Shutterstock
The Sears chain continues to dwindle.

A slew of Sears stores went out of business in 2017, and the company entered the new year by announcing plans to close another 39.

14. Bon-Ton

47 stores

Bon-Ton is a department store chain on the rocks. The company has filed for bankruptcy protection and has announced it's closing 47 of its 260 stores in the eastern U.S. during 2018.

Lancaster, PA - January 15, 2017: Exterior Entrance of a Bon-Ton store, Bon-Ton is  a chain of retail department stores in over 250 locations.
George Sheldon / Shutterstock
Troubled retailer Bon-Ton is closing dozens more stores.

The 100-year-old retailer indicates that additional store closings are possible.

13. A'Gaci

49 stores

Last year's hurricanes beat up on the women's fashion chain A'Gaci, which has filed for bankruptcy protection and plans to close 49 stores in 2018. That's almost two-thirds of the total.

A'Gaci Store

A'Gaci says stores in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico were devastated by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The chain says its other problems include growing too fast and losing customers to online stores.

12. J. Crew

50 stores

Many malls are kinda dead these days, at least compared to how busy they used to be. And that's really bad news for preppy clothing chain J. Crew, because most of its stores are at the mall.

CHICAGO, IL - 04 APRIL, 2016: inside 900 North Michigan, Chicago. 900 North Michigan is a skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois, United States.
Sorbis / Shutterstock
Nautical-themed retailer J. Crew has been taking on water.

The troubled company says it's closing 50 stores by the end of January — more than double the number it had announced earlier. If you got a J. Crew gift card for the holidays, you may want to use it fast.

11. Sam’s Club

63 stores

Walmart says it's closing 63 of its Sam's Club warehouse club stores, though 12 of them will be converted to warehouses to store online merchandise.

Kokomo - Circa October 2016: Sam's Club Warehouse Logo and Signage. Sam's Club is a chain of membership only stores owned by Walmart I
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock
Walmart is closing scores of its Sams Clubs.

The chain's CEO has suggested some of the stores were too close to others. Almost 600 Sam’s Clubs will remain.

10. Kmart

64 stores

The company that owns Sears also owns the gasping Kmart discount chain. It's turning out the lights at another 64 Kmart stores in early 2018, because they're not making money.

KMart store in Goldsboro, North Carolina, slated to close in March 2017. Maintenance truck in front of Ashley Plaza sign where banner advertising the KMart liquidation sale was just hung.
Jennifer Vinciguerra/Shutterstock

Parent company Sears Holdings says it's working to expand its online retail business to better serve customers.

9. Guess?

Up to 120 stores

Guess? is doing better overseas than in the U.S., so the fashion retailer is guessing that cutting way back on its American stores will be good for business.

The company plans to permanently lock the doors at 100 to 120 U.S. stores in 2018, after closing around 60 last year. Meanwhile, the chain plans to expand in Europe and Asia.

Guess outlet store in NY

8. Vitamin World

124 stores

The Vitamin World chain is looking like a 98-pound weakling these days. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in September and has put 124 stores in going-out-of-business mode. They're expected to be closed by the end of January.

The company has been looking for a buyer for its remaining 220 or so stores.

Vitamin World
designs by Jack/Shutterstock

7. Michael Kors

Up to 125 stores

High-end fashion accessories giant Michael Kors will shut down 100 to 125 stores in the next two years after major drops in sales in 2017. Kors sales in both its branded stores and department stores fell by double digits.

BEIJING, CHINA - May 6, 2016: Luxury interior of the Michael Kors brand store
J. Lekavicius / Shutterstock
It hasn't been pretty for Michael Kors stores.

If you’re a fan of Michael Kors (the brand, not necessarily the designer and snarky judge from "Project Runway"), then you’ll be glad to hear the firm is restructuring, not tanking. The company’s stock price has been going up and up!

6. The Children’s Place

Up to 144 stores

Kids may grow, but longtime kids' clothing retailer The Children's Place has been getting smaller and smaller. And, it plans to shut down another 144 stores by 2020.

Edison, New Jersey December 16 2017: The Children's Palce Logo On Store Front Sign.
Helen89 / Shutterstock
The Children's Place keeps shrinking.

TCP wants to refocus on expanding its sales on Amazon and growing its international business, says Forbes.

5. Toys R Us

Up to 182 stores

These are not fun times at Toys R Us. The retailer that has for years been America's go-to for toys filed for bankruptcy in September, then went all out in hopes of having a big 2017 holiday season.

But Christmas shoppers still spent about 15 percent less at Toys R Us than they did in 2016, reports Bloomberg. So the chain has announced plans to close 20% of its stores — as many as 182 of them — by April.

Toys R Us store

4. Gap/Banana Republic

200 stores

Two of your local mall's staples — Gap and Banana Republic — may soon disappear. Parent company Gap Inc. says 200 of those stores will go dark in the next three years because they’re "underperforming."

NEW YORK CITY - APRIL 19: Shoppers walk past a Gap retail outlet in New York City, on Friday, April 19, 2013.
Northfoto / Shutterstock
Gap Inc. is shuttering hundreds of Gap and Banana Republic locations.

Even if your nearest stores close, you’ll still be able to get your Gap and Banana fix online. And it’s not all bad news for the company: It plans to open 270 new stores for its growing brands, Old Navy and Athleta.

3. Teavana

379 stores

The end is brewing for Starbucks' tea brand: The company plans to shutter all 379 of its mall-based Teavana locations. Most will be out of business by the spring.

DENVER, USA - JUNE 25, 2014: Unidentified people at Teavana store in Denver. Teavana is a specialty tea and tea accessory retailer based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Goran Bogicevic / Shutterstock
Closings are brewing for all of Starbucks' Teavana outlets.

Although Starbucks made efforts to use merchandising and store redesigns to net more customers, the strategies just didn’t percolate.

2. Ann Taylor and her sisters

Up to 547 stores

The company behind Ann Taylor, Loft, Dressbarn and other clothing chains for women plans to close as many as 547 more stores by 2019. That's on top of at least 120 that Ascena Retail Group shut down in 2017.

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA, JULY 22, 2017: Ann Taylor Loft Retail Store
designs by Jack / Shutterstock
The parent company of Ann Taylor and Loft is shutting down hundreds of those stores.

Falling sales and astronomical commercial rents have been big problems for the retailer.

1. Rite Aid

600 stores

Headaches are on the way for many Rite Aid drugstore customers: They'll have to transfer their prescriptions because 600 Rite Aids will close, starting this spring.

The Walgreens pharmacy chain is buying nearly 2,000 stores from its rival Rite Aid and says any of those locations that are too close to a Walgreens will be put out of business.

Rite Aid store in Michigan
Susan Montgomery/Shutterstock
Continue on NEXT page...

Continue reading on the next page.