You thought last year was bad for chain stores? Around 9,000 went out of business in 2017 --- but 2018 is shaping up to be even worse!
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 27 large retailers closing the most stores in 2018.
27. J.C. Penney
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 before summer.
Penney's, which has been losing money for years, also plans to close a distribution center in Wisconsin this summer.
26. Lord & Taylor
Your grandmother may have shopped at Lord & Taylor — and your grandmother's grandmother and her grandmother, too. The department store chain has been around for more than 190 years.
But Lord & Taylor is struggling to draw today's younger shoppers. Its parent company has decided to shut down up to 10 stores in 2018 — one-fifth of the total — including the chain's iconic flagship store on New York City's Fifth Avenue.
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.
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.
Crocs — the company that makes those colorful, rubbery clogs with the holes — has been shrinking its "footprint." In other words, scaling back the number of brick-and-mortar stores it operates.
When it had 558 stores in March of 2017, the funky footwear firm said it wanted to reduce that tally to 400 by the end of 2018. At the beginning of this year, Crocs was still about 50 closings from its target.
23. J. Crew
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.
The troubled company said it would close 50 stores early in 2018 — 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.
22. Abercrombie & Fitch
The teen retailer known for its buff models and torn jeans will be turning out the lights at 60 of its Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister stores this year.
The Abercrombie company has been shedding its locations in malls because — you guessed it — more of its customers want to buy their threads online.
21. Sam’s Club
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.
The chain's CEO has suggested some of the stores were too close to others. Almost 600 Sam’s Clubs will remain.
The company that owns struggling Sears also owns the gasping Kmart discount chain. It's shutting down another 82 (the number keeps growing!) Kmart stores this year because they're not making money.
Parent company Sears Holdings says it's working to expand its online retail business to better serve customers.
Claire's, the retailer that keeps teenage girls well-accessorized in bangles and bling, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March and said it would close 92 of its stores this spring.
The company says it has been hurt by dying malls, competition from big-box chains (like Target) and "the increased popularity of online shopping."
18. Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo
Supermarkets are not immune from the forces shaking up retailing. Smaller grocery chains are being squeezed out as Americans do more of their food shopping at dollar stores, Walmart and Amazon's Whole Foods.
Amid that backdrop, Southeastern Grocers has filed for bankruptcy and has announced it's shutting down nearly 100 of its Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and other supermarkets in seven southern states.
Brookstone — that store tired shoppers have counted on for soothing demonstrations in its massage chairs — has filed for bankruptcy and is closing all 102 of its mall stores.
The shops known for selling all sorts of quirky gadgets have been losing business to online retailers. But you can still get a Brookstone fix when you travel: Its airport locations will remain open.
16. Foot Locker
More than 100 Foot Locker stores are in their final inning and are expected to close in 2018. CEO Richard Johnson told analysts in early March that the company is leaving malls that are "starting to deteriorate."
The sneaker and athletic clothing chain is opening 40 new stores this year, including a new Champs Sports flagship store in New York's Times Square.
Sears' business has been in a steady decline for more than a decade, and the company's stock price has dropped from about $40 a share in June 2015 to less than $3 in 2018. (Yikes!)
The shrinking retailer started 2018 by announcing it would close another 39 Sears stores. In April it started shuttering 11 more, and in May and June the retailer put another 62 of its department stores on the chopping block.
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.
13. Vitamin World
The Vitamin World chain is looking like a 98-pound weakling these days. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in September 2017 and put 124 stores in going-out-of-business mode. They were expected to close by February 2018.
The company has been looking for a buyer for its remaining 220 or so stores.
12. 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.
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!
11. 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.
TCP wants to refocus on expanding its sales on Amazon and growing its international business, says Forbes.
8. (tie) Gap/Banana Republic
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."
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.
8. (tie) GNC
GNC is another vitamin retailer that has been looking sickly. Executives hope closing 200 stores in the U.S. and Canada will be just the spoonful of tonic the company needs to improve its financial health.
The chain's strength has been sapped by the decline of shopping malls (where most of its stores are) and tough competition from Amazon and other online vitamin sellers.
8. (tie) Signet Jewelers
Never heard of Signet? It's the company behind many of the big jewelry chains found in malls, including Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, and Piercing Pagoda.
Signet says it wants to put more of a shimmer on its online retailing. It's closing 200 stores but says 75% of those are in malls with other Signet-operated stores, which will pick up some of the lost business.
7. Best Buy Mobile
Electronics big-box chain Best Buy has decided to shut down all 250 of its not-so-big Best Buy Mobile stores found in malls.
In a letter to employees, Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly says the stand-alone mobile phone stores aren't very profitable. And, he says shoppers will typically find a regular Best Buy store nearby where they can buy a phone.
It's all over for the Bon-Ton family of department stores, which includes the Bergner's, Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers chains.
The 160-year-old retailer filed for bankruptcy in February and initially said it would close around 50 stores in 2018. Two months later, the company decided it would have to shut down entirely.
The end is brewing for Starbucks' tea brand: The company plans to shutter all 379 of its mall-based Teavana locations. Most were to be out of business by the spring.
Although Starbucks made efforts to use merchandising and store redesigns to net more customers, the strategies just didn’t percolate.
The Subway chain of sandwich shops is slimming down. After closing more than 900 stores last year, the company says it wants to shut down around 500 more of its U.S. locations in 2018.
Subway is still massive, with more than 44,000 stores around the world, including nearly 26,000 in the U.S. But its business is in a pickle from competitors, including supermarket sandwich counters.
3. 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.
Falling sales and astronomical commercial rents have been big problems for the retailer.
2. Rite Aid
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.
1. Toys R Us
It's game over for Toys R Us in 2018. The chain that helped raise generations of kids says it's closing all 735 of its remaining U.S. stores and will try to sell its roughly 80 stores in Canada.
The company filed for bankruptcy last September, then had a dismal holiday season. Analysts say what killed Toys R Us was online competition and kids choosing electronic gadgets over traditional toys.
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