If you've been noticing more going-out-of-business sales, there's a startling reason: Dressbarn, CVS, Pier 1, Gap and other chains have announced more store closings in the first half of 2019 than we saw during all of 2018, according to Coresight Research.
But the bloodbath at the mall won't end anytime soon. As online shopping continues to grow, another 75,000 stores could close by 2026, says investment bank UBS.
These 38 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, be sure to take along a cash-back credit card for additional savings.
Stores closing in 2019: 4
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 has closed three stores so far this year and says a fourth will be gone by August. That one, in a suburban Seattle mall, has been in business nearly 60 years.
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 in 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.
Analyst Neil Sauders with Global Data Retail says Macy's needs to keep losing locations "where the return on investment is not viable."
Stores closing in 2019: 6
Even popular and trendy Target finds itself with money-losing stores that it wants 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 discount retailer was planning to open roughly 20 new locations this year, primarily smaller stores.
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 has since announced that it's shutting down all four of its Off/Aisle discount stores.
But the chain says the closings will be balanced out by the opening of four new stores, though they'll be smaller than the typical Kohl's.
34. 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 plans to put several more of its department stores out of business this year.
The New York store had stood for more than a centurty and was the first 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 within Walmart's website will feature over 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 is already making an exit. It plans to wind down all 11 of its Topshop and Topman stores in the U.S., in cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami and San Diego.
The chain's parent company has filed for bankruptcy, blaming "challenging retail headwinds, changing consumer habits and ever-increasing online competition."
32. Z Gallerie
Stores closing in 2019: 17
The upscale furniture store Z Gallerie is one of several retailers to file for bankruptcy in 2019, though the chain is hoping to find a buyer who can keep the company in business.
For now, it's closing about a fifth of its 76 stores in 28 states — and is blaming itself for its problems. In the bankruptcy filing, Z Gallerie says it bungled with e-commerce, an expansion and a pricey distribution center, according to Bloomberg.
Here's a tip for additional savings when you hit a furniture liquidation sale: Use a cash-back credit card that offers bonus rewards for furniture purchases.
31. 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.
30. 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.
29. 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.
28. 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.
27. Abercrombie & Fitch
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 40
With America's malls in trouble, Abercrombie — known for its ripped jeans and shredded models — has seen its business go from smokin' hot to ice cold in recent years.
The fashion retailer for teens and young adults is hoping to make a comeback by 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 of large-scale flagship stores. New stores will be smallish, and existing locations will shrink in size.
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.
25. 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.
24. 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.
23. Party City
Stores closing in 2019: 45
The tough climate for retailers can be a real party pooper.
Party City has announced it's closing about 45 of its roughly 870 party supply stores. That's far more than the 10 to 15 locations that shut down in a typical year, but the company says it needs to scale back so it can keep the party going at its most profitable locations.
The company's financial results have been drooping a little bit because of a shortage of helium for its balloons. A deal signed with a new helium source should help lift the bottom line.
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: 48
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 more than 150 Kmart stores in 2018, and it plans to shut down nearly 50 more in 2019.
Back in 2000, Kmart was everywhere — some 2,200 stores dotted the U.S. and its territories. As of August, just 360 remained.
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.
19. 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.
18. 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.
17. 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: 72
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 will be out of business in 2019, including the Sears at Minnesota's Mall of America, the largest shopping center in the U.S.
Sears has been sinking fast, but ESL Investments — a hedge fund led by the retailer's former CEO, Edward Lampert — bought the company in February in hopes of saving the last 425 Sears and Kmart stores.
15. Performance Bicycle
Stores closing in 2019: 102
The operator of Performance Bicycle shops in 20 states from coast to coast has been holding 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 say the company is wallowing in debt and has been grappling with higher costs due to tariffs imposed as part of the ongoing trade war.
14. 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.
13. 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!)
11. 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.
10. 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 is closing more than half its roughly 400 stores, Reuters reports. It's selling others, along with its online and mail-order business, to Enesco, a maker of Disney figurines and other collectibles.
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.
Stores closing in 2019: 263
Fred's is on the fritz.
In April, the ailing discount chain said it would shut down 159 of its stores, primarily in the South. Weeks later, another 104 closings were announced, which will leave the company with a little over half the locations it had at the start of 2019.
Fred's had hoped to become a giant in the pharmacy 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: 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 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.
5. 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.
4. 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: 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.