If you keep noticing more going-out-of-business sales, there's a startling reason: Walgreens, Dressbarn, GameStop, Gap and other chains have already announced more than 8,000 store closings in 2019 -- way more than we saw during all of 2018.
That's according to Coresight Research, which predicts the number could hit 12,000 by the end of the year. You think that's bad? As online shopping continues to grow, another 75,000 stores could be lost by 2026, says investment bank UBS.
These chains are shutting down the most U.S. stores this year, counting down to the retailer turning out the lights at the largest number of locations. When you hit the liquidation sales, take along your cash-back credit card for additional savings.
Stores closing in 2019: 4
At Macy's, it's practically a tradition that an announcement of store closings comes as soon as the holiday season ends. But this time, Macy's got an early jump on things.
The company revealed last November that a department store in suburban New York would close in early 2019. Later, a few more shut down.
Chief Financial Officer Paula Price told analysts during a conference call that a total of four stores had closed by mid-May, versus 12 that went out of business in 2018. She pointed out that the company also is opening new stores.
Analyst Neil Sauders with Global Data Retail says Macy's needs to keep losing locations "where the return on investment is not viable."
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Stores closing in 2019: 6
Nordstom — the upscale retailer with a reputation for superstar customer service — has been battling for business as shoppers embrace cheap fashion chains and e-commerce sites.
The company has been pouring money into its Nordstrom Rack discount stores and making room for online order pickup areas in its department stores. But those efforts haven't been enough.
With its profits falling, Nordstrom closed three stores early in the year, and it recently shuttered three more. The latest closings included a Nordstrom that had been in business in a suburban Seattle mall for nearly 60 years.
But the company continues to open new stores, including a New York City flagship that will span seven floors.
Stores closing in 2019: 6
Even popular and trendy Target finds itself with money-losing stores that it needs to shake loose.
The company said it would close a half-dozen by February, in what has become an annual event. The chain shuttered 13 in February 2018, and a dozen a year earlier.
But don't worry, Target fans — you'll still have plenty of places to use your REDcard credit card. The retailer continues to grow and evolve.
The discount retailer says it's opening 30 new, smaller locations each year, plus it plans to remodel 300 of its larger locations in 2020 by giving them new lighting and flooring, better toy departments, and overhauled grocery aisles.
Stores closing in 2019: 8
Kohl's has been in better shape than those department stores you find at the big enclosed malls. Experts say shoppers think Kohl's stores in strip shopping centers are less of hassle than going to the mall.
Even so, the 2018 holiday shopping at Kohl's wasn't quite as good as expected, leading the company to shut down four money-losing stores early this year. The company later announced that it was shutting down all four of its Off/Aisle discount stores.
But the chain said the closings would be balanced out by the opening of four new stores, though they'll be smaller than the typical Kohl's.
To get more shoppers in the door, Kohl's recently started accepting Amazon returns at all of its department stores.
40. Lord & Taylor
Stores closing in 2019: 9
America's oldest department store company (dating back to 1826) closed its iconic flagship store on New York's Fifth Ave. before the end of 2018, and Lord & Taylor planned to put several more of its department stores out of business this year.
The New York store had stood for more than a century and was the first department store to put animated displays in its store windows at Christmas time.
The chain's other locations are mostly found in malls.
Meanwhile, L&T is hoping its survival will come via a unique new partnership with Walmart: A Lord & Taylor site is now found within Walmart's website and offers shoppers 125 upscale brands.
Stores closing in 2019: 11
The British fast-fashion chain Topshop got a star-studded welcome when it invaded America in 2009, with celebrities including rapper Jay-Z and supermodel Kate Moss celebrating the opening of the first U.S. store in New York.
Now, after just 10 years, Topshop has already made an exit. It wound down all 11 of its Topshop and Topman stores in the U.S., in cities that also include Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami and San Diego.
The chain's parent company filed for bankruptcy, blaming "challenging retail headwinds, changing consumer habits and ever-increasing online competition."
But it's not a complete goodbye for the brand's fans in the U.S., because they can still buy the company's threads online and at Nordstrom stores.
38. Barneys New York
Stores closing in 2019: 15
Barneys — a luxury department store company known for its over-the-top catalogs and elaborate holiday window displays — has filed for bankruptcy and is closing most of its stores.
In a statement, the chain says it has taken a pounding from high rents and "the challenging retail environment."
Barneys will continue to operate its iconic locations in New York, where the company got its start in 1923. Barney Pressman began by opening a discount clothing store using the slogan, "No Bunk, No Junk, No Imitations."
Apparently, shoppers were confused about the fate of the New York stores, leading Barneys to create a tongue-in-cheek window display declaring "Not Closed" and "Barneys Til I Die."
Stores closing in 2019: 18
None other than retail giant Walmart is scaling back in 2019. As the company shuts down locations here and there, hundreds of laid-off employees are hanging up their vests.
Walmart has avoided making any formal announcements about closings. To arrive at the total, you have to add numbers from industry reports and individual local media accounts.
The 18 include: 10 of Walmart's Neighborhood Market grocery stores; full-size discount stores in Louisiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia; and smaller "Walmart on Campus" locations at Arizona State University and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Most recently, Walmart announced the closing of its only store in Minnesota's capital, St. Paul. "Retail is changing rapidly," a Walmart spokeswoman said, when asked about the decision by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
36. J. Crew
Stores closing in 2019: 20
Many malls are dying off, which is a serious problem for chains that rely on them — like fading J. Crew.
After quietly ending the run of a handful of U.S. locations early in the year, executives told analysts during a late May conference call that the plan for 2019 is to shut down a total of about 20 J. Crews, including outlet stores.
Recent closings have included "Liquor Store," a man cave-ish men's store that the company operated for more than 10 years in New York's lower Manhattan.
35. Southeastern Grocers
Stores closing in 2019: 22
You may not know the Southeastern Grocers name, though if you live in the Southern U.S. you've seen the company's supermarkets.
Winn-Dixie, Bi-Lo and Harveys are institutions across the region, but grocery shoppers have been gravitating away to big-box stores such as Walmart and Costco — and to Amazon.
Southeastern Grocers is shutting down about two-dozen stores, less than a year after the company went through a bankruptcy and closed nearly 100 of its locations.
34. J.C. Penney
Stores closing in 2019: 27
J.C. Penney has many things in common with Sears: Both were founded around the beginning of the 20th century, both are fixtures in U.S. shopping malls, both used to have major catalog businesses.
And now Penney is fighting for its life, just like Sears.
Right after a bad holiday sales season, Penney's stock dropped below $1 for the first time ever. More recently, the company said it would close 18 department stores in 2019 and nine of its separate furniture stores.
33. Christopher & Banks
Stores closing in 2019: The first of up to 40
A lot of things haven't been going right for the women's clothing retailer Christopher & Banks, which has decided to close between 30 and 40 of its more than 450 stores over the next two and a half years.
Executives say the company wound up with more 2018 spring and summer clothing than it could sell. Then, shipping delays made it tough to put new merchandise on the racks.
C&B reported a nearly $9 million loss from its late summer quarter and said sales were down 7.5% at its established stores. But the CEO tells analysts that the chain is making progress.
32. Abercrombie & Fitch
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 40
With America's malls in trouble, Abercrombie — known for its ripped jeans and shredded models — saw its business go from smokin' hot to ice cold in recent years.
The fashion retailer for younger shoppers is mounting a comeback through downsizing, and in more ways than one.
Executives have announced that as many as 40 Abercrombie stores will go out of business this year, including some large-scale flagship stores. Other existing locations will shrink in size, and 40 smallish new stores are planned.
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 40
Francesca's is a women's clothing and accessories chain that's having trouble getting shoppers in the door. "Foot traffic" into the stores is down, and so are sales.
CEO Steve Lawrence has promised analysts more excitement(!) to pull people in, including "more disruptive window displays and visual effects." But the company has stopped remodeling its stores, and is closing 30 to 40 of them in 2019.
Francesca's wants to do more business online, but its e-commerce sales have been relatively modest so far.
30. Bed Bath & Beyond
Stores closing in 2019: 40
Some Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers will have fewer places to use the chain's ubiquitous coupons to buy bedding, kitchen gadgets and the latest as-seen-on-TV products that no household should be without.
The popular home furnishings retailer plans to shut down 40 of its stores in 2019 — and executives say the number may grow if landlords are unwilling to offer the company better leases.
But BB&B also intends to open around 15 new stores this year. There are nearly 1,000 Bed Bath & Beyond locations in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada.
29. Z Gallerie
Stores closing in 2019: 44
The upscale furniture store Z Gallerie is one of several retailers to file for bankruptcy in 2019, though the chain is hoping to stay in business now that it has a new owner.
But in March, the retailer announced it was closing 17 stores, and it recently decided to shutter 27 more. That leaves just 34 to carry on. In the bankruptcy filing, Z Gallerie said it bungled with e-commerce, an expansion and a pricey distribution center, Bloomberg reported.
Here's a tip for saving even more when you hit a furniture liquidation sale: Use a cash-back credit card that offers bonus rewards for furniture purchases.
28. The Children's Place
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 45
If you're used to taking your kids to The Children's Place to get them clothes for back-to-school, be warned that your store might be gone by the next school-shopping season.
For the past few years the retailer has been working toward a goal of closing 300 stores by 2020. Executives told Wall Street analysts in early March that 40 to 45 locations would be shuttered in 2019, and another 45 would close next year.
The Children's Place has been trying to get its arithmetic right. It's trimming its store count and giving its website more attention to boost its profits.
Stores closing in 2019: 46
Pharmacy giant CVS Health caught the store-closing bug and shut down nearly 50 of its locations in April.
The company says the stores, in 16 states spread across the U.S., were "underperforming." They represented just a teensy percentage of the roughly 9,600 CVS drugstores nationwide.
The cuts included the world's largest CVS, a 64,000-square-foot monster of a store in Springfield, Missouri. The typical CVS is under 13,000 square feet.
Stores closing in 2019: 51
Home improvement retailer Lowe's is taking a hacksaw to part of its business. It planned to cut 20 stores in the U.S. and 31 in Canada by February.
Lowe's will still have more than 2,000 locations between the two countries. CEO Marvin Ellison said in a statement that the downsizing is just part of "building a stronger business."
The company says most of the closings involve Lowe's stores that are operating within 10 miles of another location.
Stores closing in 2019: 53
Target, Kmart and Walmart opened their first stores in the same year (1962) and were once known as the "big three" discount retailers. But soon, there might be only two left standing.
Kmart appears to be spiraling toward its death. The chain's troubled parent company Sears Holdings closed over 150 Kmart stores in 2018 and has been shutting down more in 2019.
Back in 2000, Kmart was everywhere: Some 2,200 stores dotted the U.S. and its territories. Only around 200 remain.
24. Victoria's Secret
Stores closing in 2019: 53
It's Victoria's Not-So-Secret: Consumers no longer get all steamed up over the lingerie brand, so it has gone from hot to ice cold.
The chain has failed to keep up changing tastes. Analysts say that instead of the skimpy styles at Victoria's Secret, women are more interested in underwear that's comfortable and made for all body types.
The retailer plans to close more than 50 of its stores. According to Bloomberg, that's more than three times the number that shut down in a more typical year.
23. Party City
Stores closing in 2019: 55
The tough climate for retailers can be a real party pooper.
Party City is closing about 6% of its roughly 900 party supply stores. In May, the company said it would shut down 45 locations, but since then it has upped the number by 10.
The chain says it needs to scale back so it can keep the party going at its most profitable locations. A shortage of helium for balloons hurt business earlier in the year, but Party City says in a news release that it has "secured additional helium supply."
22. Office Depot
Stores closing in 2019: 59
These days, Pam from The Office might very well go on Amazon to order Post-its, toner and other very important stuff for Dunder Mifflin, instead of heading off to the nearest office supply store in Scranton.
And that's no joke for Office Depot. As it fights for customers and for its survival, the company has been forced to keep closing money-losing stores.
In a May filing with federal regulators, the retailer said it's shuttering about 60 of its Office Depot and OfficeMax stores this year, in the final wave of a three-year plan to close about 300 locations.
21. Destination Maternity
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 67
No surprise here: Many expectant moms would rather shop from the comfort of home than trudge to the mall.
So, Destination Maternity — which also operates Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod stores — has been struggling to compete against online retailers.
The company has announced it's closing up to 280 stores over the next four years, including as many as 67 during its 2019 fiscal year, which starts in July. The retailer wants to sell more of its maternity clothes online.
Stores closing in 2019: 93
Things have been looking grim for Sears, which closed a slew of its stores in 2018 and filed for bankruptcy.
It has followed up with news that more than 70 additional department stores would be out of business in 2019, including the Sears at Minnesota's Mall of America, the largest shopping center in the U.S.
A hedge fund led by the retailer's former CEO bought Sears Holdings in February in hopes of saving hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores. But a new announcement has targeted 21 more Sears locations for closure.
19. Performance Bicycle
Stores closing in 2019: 102
The operator of Performance Bicycle shops in 20 states from coast to coast held liquidation sales at all of its more than 100 stores.
Parent company Advanced Sports Enterprises filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-November and then hit the brakes on the Performance chain, which started as a bike catalog business in 1981.
Executives said the company was wallowing in debt and grappling with higher costs due to tariffs imposed as part of the ongoing trade war.
18. Pier 1 Imports
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 145
Pier 1 is in trouble as deep as those quirky, bowl-shaped papasan chairs the home furnishings retailer is known for.
The chain says it closed out 2018 with a dismal holiday shopping season that saw sales drop 13.7% from a year earlier. Retail Dive has identified Pier 1 as one of a dozen retailers that could be on their way to bankruptcy in 2019.
Pier 1 is trying to keep its ship afloat by closing at least 45 stores, and maybe 100 more. The final number depends on whether landlords will be willing to cut the company some slack.
17. Signet Jewelers
Stores closing in 2019: 150
Signet is the world's largest jewelry retailer, the giant company behind many of the major chains that sell the sparkly stuff, including Kay Jewelers, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry and Zales.
The company had a not-so-great 2018 holiday sales season and says it's closing 150 stores as part of a three-year plan to lose 13% of its more than 3,500 locations around the globe.
Signet is most eager to pull out of dying malls. It says it's shifting to more "off-mall" locations.
Stores closing in 2019: 150
Starbucks coffee shops are all over creation — sometimes you even find three on the same corner. So you might assume that all Starbucks knows how to do is grow and open new stores.
Nope, they do close them occasionally. And, the number expected to go out of business in 2019 is three times the roughly 50 that Starbucks usually shuts down each year.
The company says it will weed out weaker stores in saturated markets while it opens new ones in spots that don't have as many Starbucks shops. (Apparently, those places still exist!)
15. LifeWay Christian Stores
Stores closing in 2019: 170
Even a chain of religious stores doesn't have a prayer in the current retail environment.
LifeWay Christian Stores has announced that it's shutting down its entire chain of religious bookstores across 30 states, from Pennsylvania to California.
The company says sales and foot traffic have been declining at its brick-and-mortar locations. Lifeway says it reaches five times more people online, so now it will shift even more resources into its digital business.
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 200
Videogames have become more of a thing you download, less of a thing you go to a store to buy — and that's a big problem for GameStop and its more than 5,700 locations in 14 countries.
After the company announced widening losses and a 14.3% drop in sales during the May-through-July quarter, executives told analysts on a conference call that 180 to 200 stores would close by the end of the year.
And, GameStop Chief Financial Officer James Bell warned of a "much larger tranche of closures over the coming 12 to 24 months."
Stores closing in 2019: 200
CVS isn't the only pharmacy giant that's taking a dose of downsizing. Walgreens announced it's shutting down about 200 of its U.S. stores.
In a statement to media outlets, Walgreens said the closings amount to fewer than 3% of the chain's nearly 9,600 locations in the U.S. The company told federal regulators in a filing that the goal is to achieve "increased cost efficiencies."
Walgreens previously indicated that it's under financial pressure because of low generic drug prices, Reuters reported.
12. Things Remembered
Stores closing in 2019: More than 200
Things Remembered is a store where you can get practically anything engraved, embroidered and personalized: jewelry, key chains, bathrobes, oven mitts, door knockers, hip flasks, piggy banks, paperweights, and so on and so on.
But consumers haven't been giving Things Remembered much thought, it seems. The retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early February.
The chain this year closed more than half its roughly 400 stores. It sold others, along with its online and mail-order businesses, to Enesco, a maker of Disney figurines and other collectibles.
Stores closing in 2019: 222
The plus-size women's clothing retailer Avenue Stores is another chain that will be gone from the retail map entirely by the time 2019 is done.
The chain — which started out as Sizes Unlimited in 1983 — decided to shut down all of its stores in 33 states, according to a news release from the liquidator.
Avenue had been looking for a buyer and had warned employees that if it couldn't find one, it would have to shut down, the New York Post reported.
Stores closing in 2019: The first of up to 230
At one time, the Gap was the coolest store at the mall, the place where you'd stock up on T-shirts, khakis, sweats and jeans that just looked so right.
But that was a long time ago. Nowadays, younger shoppers wouldn't think of falling into the Gap but instead find trendier and more affordable clothing at Target or "fast-fashion" chains such as H&M.
So, Gap plans to close around 230 stores over two years. But don't feel too badly for parent company Gap Inc., because its Old Navy chain is doing so well that it's being spun off as a separate business.
Stores closing in 2019: The first of at least 250
Chico's can't beat Amazon, so the women's clothing seller has joined them: It's now selling its stuff on the online superstore, and on QVC, too.
Meantime, Chico's says it will close at least 250 of U.S. stores over the next three years, though mostly after 2019. Executives say they want the retailer to have more of a digital presence, less of an old-fashioned physical one.
The closings will include not only Chico's locations but also some of the company's White House Black Market and Soma stores.
8. Charming Charlie
Stores closing in 2019: 261
The charm has apparently worn off for this seller of colorful handbags, fashionable sunglasses, flashy jewelry and other women's accessories and clothing.
Charming Charlie has filed for bankruptcy for the second time since December 2017, and this time it's (he's?) not coming back. The retailer plans to close all of stores in 38 states by the end of August and go out of business.
In the new bankruptcy filing, the company says its costs — including "onerous leases" on its stores — just became too much to handle.
Stores closing in 2019: 363
A steady drip of store closings from the regional discount chain Shopko turned into a flood following the company's bankruptcy filing in January. Eventually, the retailer decided to shut down all of its stores by mid-June.
That was after executives tried but failed to find someone to buy the company and keep as many as 120 stores open.
Shopko got its start in Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1962; it promised to offer customers "quality, service and low prices." The retailer made its name by going into smaller markets in the Midwest, the West and the Pacific Northwest that other chains ignored.
The problem is that Amazon is now in all of those places.
6. Family Dollar
Stores closing in 2019: 390
Dollar stores had been bucking (pun intended) some of the trends squeezing other retailers, but now they're having difficulty, too.
As a result, up to 390 Family Dollar locations will shut down this year, and another 200 will be turned into Dollar Tree stores. Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar in 2015.
In a news release announcing the closings, Dollar Tree CEO Gary Philbin mentioned tariffs on imported goods as one of the challenges facing the company.
5. Charlotte Russe
Stores closing in 2019: 512
Charlotte Russe — a women's clothing chain that has been around since the mid-1970s — filed for bankruptcy in February and initially said it would close about one-fifth of its more than 500 locations.
But the retailer's website later announced that all stores would be shutting down.
Charlotte Russe borrowed its name from a French dessert, and apparently shoppers decided they'd rather not have another slice. The bankruptcy filing said the chain's sales had suffered a "dramatic decrease."
Stores closing in 2019: 557
Fred's is yet another merchant that will be gone from the retail map entirely when 2019 draws to a close.
The ailing chain had about 560 discount stores and pharmacies at the start of the year, but then came wave after wave of closings. But they weren't enough to save the business.
So, Fred's filed for bankruptcy in early September and said it would shut down its remaining locations in the Southeast and Midwest.
Fred's had hoped to become a giant in the drugstore business. When Walgreens and Rite Aid were trying to combine last year, Fred's offered to buy hundreds of stores that might have been left out of the deal. But the Walgreens-Rite Aid merger never happened.
Stores closing in 2019: 650
After almost 60 years in business, women's clothing retailer Dressbarn is hanging it up.
Parent company Ascena Retail Group has decided to put the entire chain out of business and focus on its more profitable stores for women and girls. Ascena's other brands include Ann Taylor, Loft and Justice.
You see them in practically every mall and strip shopping center — but many of the customers are at home, shopping online. So, Ascena has been doing some Marie Kondo-style tidying in its closet. Earlier this year, it sold its Maurices chain.
Stores closing in 2019: 800
Gymboree was playing a game of retail dodgeball — and lost.
This chain that sells clothing for kids and babies is going out of business. Gymboree came out of bankruptcy in 2017, but in January it filed all over again and said it would shut down all of its roughly 800 Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores.
The company was no match for competitors including Amazon, Walmart, Target and The Children's Place — which has been closing stores of its own, but has come out stronger.
1. Payless ShoeSource
Stores closing in 2019: 2,100
For generations, Payless was America's go-to for cheap footwear. In the very early days of the company, it advertised with the exuberant jingle, "Man alive! Two for five!" — meaning you could get two pairs of shoes for just $5.
But even Payless has had trouble competing against the deep discounts online and at stores like T.J. Maxx. So, the chain says it's closing its last 2,100 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and is going out of business.
Payless had filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017. At the time, the chain was all over the map: It had more than 4,400 locations in over 30 countries.
Stores aren't the only ones struggling. These 20 popular chains are closing the most restaurants in 2019. When you make your goodbye visit, be sure to use a credit card that rewards extra cash back for dining out.
2019 closings: 4
Luby's operates all but one of its cafeteria-style restaurants in Texas, where the chain is as much a part of the landscape as tumbleweeds, armadillos and H-E-B supermarkets.
The website says Luby's even "tastes like Texas," but apparently some people in the Lone Star State have been losing their appetite for the company's chicken fried steak, "square fish," fried broccoli and other fare.
Luby's has been in a slump. In the most recent quarter, sales were down 3.1% at its cafeterias open at least a year, and 1.2% fewer customers were coming through the doors.
In hopes of turning things around, the chain has been shutting down its most troubled locations. There were 84 Luby's in late 2018, but now there are 80.
19. TGI Fridays
2019 closings: 5
Older sit-down restaurant chains like TGI Fridays are being squeezed by America's generational and economic divides.
They're failing to catch on with younger diners, who prefer fresher and more innovative foods. The casual-dining restaurants also are getting caught in the middle as Americans gravitate to either higher-end establishments or fast-food joints.
In response to these trends, TGI Fridays has been retooling its menu as part of an effort to return to its its singles-bar roots.
But some of its locations aren't making it. This year's closings include the last TGI Fridays on New York City's Staten Island, and the only one in Florida's capital, Tallahassee. In 2018, Washington, D.C., lost its only TGI Fridays.
18. Taco Bell
2019 closings: 6
Say it isn’t so. The chain whose Cravings Value Menu goes easy on family bank accounts has closed at least a half-dozen locations this year, including four in Maine, one in Pennsylvania and one in Arkansas.
That will hardly make a dent in the Taco Bell empire, but tell that to the customer who lives near one of those spots and now has to travel farther to satisfy a chalupa craving.
Taco Bell has traditionally been the cash cow of Yum! Brands, which also owns KFC and Pizza Hut. It’s investing more in international expansion and will even experiment with a Taco Bell pop-up hotel in Palm Springs, California, this summer.
Veggie options and more jobs also are on the horizon for the chain this year.
17. McCormick & Schmick's
2019 closings: 6
The upscale McCormick & Schmick's seafood-and-steaks restaurants have been doing a slow fade since the chain was purchased in 2012 by Landry's, the owner of Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Rainforest Cafe, Morton's The Steakhouse and other dining brands.
At the time of the sale, there were 85 M&S locations in the U.S. Today, the website lists only three dozen.
That's after at least six closings in 2019. The restaurants have gone out of business in cities including St. Louis; Denver; and Providence, Rhode Island, according to local media reports.
Yes, there really was a (Bill) McCormick and a (Doug) Schmick. They launched their chain in Portland, Oregon, in 1979.
16. Roy Rogers
2019 closings: 7
The biggest challenge for this chain might be acquainting younger generations with its namesake. In the 1940s and '50s, the King of the Cowboys appeared in more than 100 films and had his own TV show with his wife, Dale Evans, and his legendary horse, Trigger.
Rogers' signature song, “Happy Trails,” is still sung at last call in some bars.
The Western-themed fast-food restaurants are known for breakfast platters, hamburgers, fried chicken and an extensive “fixin’s bar.” There were once more than 600 locations, but now fewer than 50 remain.
By our count, seven locations have been shuttered in recent months, including two of the eight Roy's in New Jersey.
2019 closings: 10
A couple of former Alaska gold prospectors started Perkins in Cincinnati in the late 1950s. They had far more success with restaurants than they ever did with precious metals.
Customers raved about their buttermilk pancakes, and within a few short years they were franchising their concept, originally called Perkins Pancake House.
By the 2010s, the company was facing a tall stack of financial trouble. It filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and again this year. The chain has weathered several rounds of closings, which often have come with no warning.
Perkins currently has more than 340 locations in 32 states and Canada. In 2005, there were nearly 500.
14. Red Robin
2019 closings: 10
Kid-friendly Red Robin, which was founded 50 years ago in Seattle, isn't going to be flying quite so high.
The company says one reason for its recent decision to shut down 10 of its restaurants is the hard times at U.S. shopping malls. Seven of the 10 are located within malls.
In a news release, Red Robin says it hopes shutting down some money-losing restaurants will "drive improved profitability."
Sales and customer numbers have been declining at Red Robin, and the Burger Works fast-food chain that the company attempted a few years ago was just one more fast-food blunder. It didn't last long.
2019 closings: 11
You think this burger chain has an odd name now? The original name was even stranger: Freddie Fuddruckers. Who is not and never was a real person.
The business was founded by a guy named Philip J. Romano, who would eventually put his own name on a restaurant chain, Romano's Macaroni Grill.
But, back to Romano's earlier creation, Fuddruckers, which boasts that its juicy hamburgers are "the world's greatest." The brand is now owned by the Luby's cafeteria people, and they've been closing their company-owned Fuddruckers locations.
The chain's website shows there are now more than 150 Fuddruckers around the world. Most are franchised, but 49 are owned by Luby's — and that number is down from 60 in late 2018.
2019 closings: 14
O'Charley's fans are finding they have fewer places to enjoy "free pie Wednesdays" and all-you-can-eat-catfish Thursdays.
This Southern-flavored sit-down restaurant chain that got its start in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1971 has been quietly trimming its roster of more than 200 locations in 17 states.
Eight O'Charley's shut down over the last weekend in June, says Nation's Restaurant News. Local news reports have indicated that at least six others closed earlier in the year, including an Orlando, Florida, restaurant near the Universal theme parks.
Business has been down at O'Charley's, but executives told Wall Street analysts on a conference call in early May that they're seeing signs of improvement.
11. Ruby Tuesday
2019 closings: 18
Restaurant companies can be notoriously tight-lipped about closings, so sometimes it's just a matter of doing the math. The location count for Ruby Tuesday is steadily shrinking.
According to local media reports, the lovable casual dining chain with the Endless Garden salad bar has shut down at least 18 of its restaurants this year. That's after turning out the lights at 51 locations in 2018.
Recent closings in Maryland, New York, Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri and Pennsylvania are typical. A simple sign appears on the door apologizing for the inconvenience.
Founded in 1972, Ruby Tuesday was a pioneer of fresh ingredients and handcrafted cocktails. The very first one was a tiny hangout near the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
10. Marie Callender's
2019 closings: 19
The Marie Callender's name may make you think of chicken pot pies and banana cream pies in the frozen food aisle. There was a real Marie Callender, and she started out making dessert pies in her modest Orange County, California, home in the 1940s.
By the 1950s, she was baking up to 200 a day for restaurants in the area, and it wasn't long before the family decided to open its own restaurants to showcase Marie's pies.
The chain is now co-owned with the Perkins restaurants — and business has crumbling. The company has filed for bankruptcy and is looking for a buyer for the Marie Callender's locations.
Not long ago there were more than 50 in the western U.S., but the number has dwindled to two just dozen. At least fans still have the frozen pies when they need a Marie's fix.
9. Kona Grill
2019 closings: 19
When it opened in 1998, Kona Grill was unique in many ways. Its 40 sauces, made from scratch, introduced global flavors that elevated ordinary stir-fry and sushi.
The chain recently filed for bankruptcy, closed 19 locations and began looking for a buyer.
Kona Grills are beautiful restaurants, but they cost around $4 million to build. A former CEO with the company tells Restaurant Business the leadership was overambitious with expansion plans.
When sales started to drop off in 2015, Kona panicked and cut back on culinary innovation, management, support staff and employee training. All of this had a negative impact on the guest experience.
2019 closings: 20 or more
Owner Dine Brands admits that this neighborhood bar and grill is a little behind the times. So, the company has been doing a lot of pruning.
In 2018, the number of Applebee's dropped by 90 (from 1,936 to 1,846, according to reports). The plan for 2019 is to cut at least another 20 locations.
The idea is not to kill off Applebee’s entirely but to fine-tune it. There will be greater focus on off-premises catering, takeout and delivery services. The leadership also is tinkering with healthier menu items and more ethnic food choices.
Atlanta-born Applebee’s first opened in 1980.
2019 closings: 23
This chain traces its roots to an ice cream shop called Friendly that opened in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1935. A hamburger was added to the menu five years later, and a family-friendly restaurant was born.
At one time there were more than 500 Friendly's locations, but by the start of 2019 just 200 remained. In April, CEO George Mitchell announced the closing of 23 stores in the Northeast.
A lot of folks will miss those Fribble milkshakes and heartwarming SuperMelts.
Mitchell told shareholders that the decision would “best position the brand for a bright future.” Sales at Friendly's sank 11% last year, Restaurant Business reports.
6. Boston Market
2019 closings: 45
Boston Market this year has closed about 10% of its more than 450 rotisserie chicken restaurants — including the last two in Boston, the city that gave the chain its name.
The company started out in 1985 as "Boston Chicken" in suburban Newton. It's now headquartered far from New England, in Golden, Colorado.
In a letter to employees, CEO Frances Allen pinned the closings on "increased competition, shifting consumer preferences, and rising costs on everything from goods and labor to real estate and utilities."
Boston Market has been through tough times before. In 1998, it filed for bankruptcy, and two years later the company got taken over by — surprisingly enough — McDonald's. The fast-food giant flew the coop in 2007 when it sold the chicken chain.
5. Steak ’n Shake
2019 closings: 106
Launched in Illinois in 1934, this brand was built on handcrafting cuts of steak to make better burgers. Steak 'n Shake says each year it serves 110 million "steakburgers" and 60 million milkshakes.
The Indianapolis-based chain has been shutting down restaurants in waves throughout 2019. Executives say 103 of the closings are just "temporary" and that most of those Steak 'n Shakes will reopen under new franchisees, the Indianapolis Business Journal reports.
But that's an unusual move. Once a restaurant is closed, it’s difficult to make a comeback in the same location.
The company has been plagued by a drop in customer visits and rising costs. Things have gotten so bad that CEO Sardar Biglari floated the idea of cutting the milkshakes' signature cherries to save $1 million a year.
2019 closings: 150
Your favorite Starbucks could disappear this year — but at least you'll have close to 30,000 others worldwide to choose from.
The coffee colossus is planning to close 150 of its shops in 2019. Most are in large cities that have numerous Starbucks locations, so you may just have to go just a little out of your way for a Frappuccino fix.
The stores being targeted have been performing poorly, which CEO Kevin Johnson says is unacceptable.
Also in 2019, Johnson has wanted Starbucks to do a better job of anticipating the ever-changing needs and preferences of its customers. The company is focusing on healthier options and promoting its app to boost sales.
3. Burger King
2019 closings: Up to 250
The home of the Whopper has been closing at least 100 restaurants per year, but more than double that number could leave the king's realm in 2019.
Lagging locations are on the chopping block to make way for the "Burger King of Tomorrow": new BKs incorporating cutting-edge technology such as self-order kiosks inside and digital menu boards at the drive-thru.
Each new restaurant is expected to do about $500,000 more business than the old ones being shut down.
Burger King — called "Insta-Burger King" when it was founded in Florida in 1953 — says it serves 11 million fans around the world every day.
2. Pizza Hut
2019 closings: About 450
Older generations may have gone to Pizza Hut on first dates, or may have fond memories of hitting the Hut with the team to celebrate a big win with personal pan pizzas, breadsticks and pitchers of Pepsi.
Soon, the experience of having a meal at Pizza Hut will be nothing but a memory — because the chain is getting out of the sit-down restaurant business. It's becoming a strictly carryout and delivery pizza chain, like Domino's and Papa John's.
As part of the transition, the number of Pizza Hut locations will fall from around 7,450 to about 7,000, executives told analysts on a conference call.
People who grew up eating at Pizza Hut took to Twitter in mourning. Model Chrissy Teigen reacted by cursing, followed by: "I love them because I like to see my toppings on top of the cheese. Long live the hut."
2019 closings: More than 1,100?
Despite its “Eat Fresh” campaign, Subway apparently isn’t quite fresh enough for increasingly health-conscious consumers.
In 2016, the sandwich chain closed more U.S. locations (359) than it opened. It continued to struggle in 2017, and shut down 866 shops. That ballooned to more than 1,100 in 2018, and there appears to be no end in sight.
With the numbers rising every year, will Subway's 2019 closings top 1,100?
The company's website shows that Subway still has more than 24,000 restaurants in the U.S. and close to 18,000 international locations. Its efforts to woo back customers include rolliing out kiosk ordering and more comfortable seating.