If you keep noticing more going-out-of-business sales, there's a startling reason: Forever 21, Walgreens, Dressbarn, GameStop, Gap and other chains have already announced over 8,500 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."
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 spiffed-up grocery sections.
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."
It seems some shoppers have been confused about the fate of the New York stores, so Barneys created 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.
About the only thing going right for J. Crew is its Madewell chain of denim and accessories stores for women. That brand is so hot that J. Crew plans is spinning it off through an initial public offering.
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 has shut down more than two-dozen stores, less than a year after the company went through a bankruptcy and closed nearly 100 of its locations.
Lately, there's been more bad news: In August, the grocery store chain agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle allegations that leaks of coolant from its store refrigerators were so serious they violated the Clean Air Act.
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.
In its battle for shoppers, JCP is introducing stores within its stores: shops specializing in shirts, jackets, vests and other gear for camping and other outdoorsy activities.
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 — which was founded by a guy named Gil (Braun) as Braun's Fashions in the 1950s — wound up with more spring and summer clothing than it could sell in 2018. Then, shipping delays made it tough to put new merchandise on the racks.
In 2019, C&B has continued to lose money as its sales keep declining.
But the CEO has been upbeat, telling 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 announced that as many as 40 Abercrombie stores would 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.
But the trade fight is hurting the retailer's turnaround efforts. Abercrombie gets some of its clothing from China, so it says tariffs are likely to have a "direct adverse impact" on profits.
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.
The company's sales and stock price have been showing some improvement, but that hasn't stopped speculation that Francesca's may not be special enough to survive and could be headed toward bankruptcy.
30. 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.
29. 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 profits. The chain recently started letting customers shop online and have the stuff shipped to one of its stores.
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.
CVS is now making over hundreds of its stores as "HealthHUBs," to capitalize on its takeover of the health insurer Aetna. The remodeled pharmacies have larger in-store clinics and sell more medical equipment, such as machines that help with sleep apnea.
Stores closing in 2019: 51
Home improvement retailer Lowe's has been taking a hacksaw to part of its business. It planned to cut 20 stores in the U.S. and 31 in Canada in early 2019.
Lowe's still has 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 involved Lowe's stores that were operating within 10 miles of another location.
In August, Lowe's told thousands of employees that they were getting the axe. The retailer decided to stop hiring its own workers to clean the stores and assemble grills and other products, and instead use outside businesses to handle that stuff.
Stores closing in 2019: More than 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.
Fifty-three is the official number of Kmart closings announced by the company in 2019, but in late summer scores more stores were quietly told they'd be going out of business, too, before the end of the year. An exact number has been hard to pin down.
Back in 2000, Kmart was everywhere: Some 2,200 stores dotted the U.S. and its territories. Fewer than 200 remain.
25. 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 not.
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 planned to close more than 50 of its stores in 2019. That's more than three times the number that shut down in a more typical year, according to Bloomberg.
Executives said recently that Victoria's Secret would stop offering so many discounts, because customers had become hooked on them. J.C. Penney also tried to cut back on price cuts — and shoppers revolted.
24. Party City
Stores closing in 2019: 55
The tough climate for retailers can be a real party pooper.
Just ask Party City, which is closing about 6% of its roughly 900 party supply stores. In May, the company said it would shut down 45 locations, but it later upped the number by 10.
In a typical year, Party City closes only 10 to 15 of its stores — total.
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 said in a later news release that it had "secured additional helium supply."
23. 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.
So customers won't leave its stores discouraged by long waits for print and copy services, Office Depot has started letting them reserve a spot in line by using the chain's app.
22. Bed Bath & Beyond
Stores closing in 2019: 60
Bed Bath & Beyond shoppers will have fewer and fewer places to use the company's ubiquitous coupons to buy bedding, kitchen gadgets and the latest as-seen-on-TV products that no household should be without.
In April, the home furnishings retailer said it would shut down 40 of its stores in 2019. But months later, the struggling chain boosted the number by 20.
BB&B also intended to open around 15 new stores this year.
And, to help drum up some holiday season buzz, the company is changing things up by doing a "rapid refresh" at 160 existing stores. That's just a fraction of the roughly 1,000 Bed Bath & Beyonds in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada.
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. Sales have been dropping.
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 started in July. The retailer wants to sell more of its maternity clothes online.
Destination Maternity may put itself up for sale. "While we continue to believe we have a compelling business and remain focused on delivering long-term profitable growth, challenges persist and more needs to be done," Chief Financial Officer Dave Helkey said, in a statement.
Stores closing in 2019: More than 93
Things are still looking grim for Sears, which closed a slew of its department stores in 2018 and filed for bankruptcy.
It has followed up with bunches and bunches more closings in 2019, which have cut stores including the Sears at the largest shopping center in the U.S., Minnesota's Mall of America.
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 in August targeted more than 20 additional Sears locations for closure — bringing the year's official count to 93.
Then, in later weeks, other Sears stores quietly launched liquidation sales. The exact number has been unclear.
19. Performance Bicycle
Stores closing in 2019: 102
What was once America's largest chain of bicycle stores has come to the end of the road.
In early 2019, the operator of Performance Bicycle shops in 20 states from coast to coast held liquidation sales at all of its more than 100 locations.
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 in the ongoing trade war. Performance Bicycle isn't gone completely: It's still selling bikes and accessories online.
18. Pier 1 Imports
Stores closing in 2019: More than 140
Pier 1 is in trouble as deep as those quirky, bowl-shaped papasan chairs the home furnishings retailer is known for.
The chain said it closed out 2018 with a dismal holiday shopping season that saw sales drop 13.7% from a year earlier. Business has been just as bad in 2019.
Time may be running out like the wick on a Pier 1 scented candle: Industry observers say the company could be headed toward bankruptcy.
To keep its ship afloat, Pier 1 is ready to close more than 140 stores, interim CEO Cheryl Bachelder told The Dallas Morning News. The final number will be lower if landlords 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-dazzling 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, including stores that stand alone.
Plus, the company has been putting more of a gleam on its e-commerce business. In a recent three-month period, Signet's online sales were up about 10% from a year earlier.
16. 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 it will shift even more resources into its digital business.
Still, LifeWay CEO Ben Mandrell told Christianity Today that internet retailing has its limits: “There’s a need in every community for people to go and peruse and browse Christian books. It’s not the same to peek inside online.”
15. Forever 21
Stores closing in 2019: Up to 178
Teens have loved Forever 21, one of the giants in the "fast-fashion" business. The chain's often massive stores offer low-price clothing that changes rapidly to keep up with style trends.
But as young shoppers question whether Forever 21's disposable clothing is good for the planet, the retailer has been forced to climb onto the bankruptcy bandwagon.
"This does NOT mean that we are going out of business," Forever 21 says, in a statement to its customers. "On the contrary, filing for bankruptcy protection is a deliberate and decisive step to put us on a successful track for the future."
"Forever" could soon come to an end for nearly 350 stores worldwide, nearly 200 of which will be closing in the U.S. That's more than a third of the total.
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."
GameStop traces its roots back to Babbage's, a small seller of educational software that opened in Dallas in 1984. The retailer has gone through several ownership changes and has had its current name since 2000.
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.
The chain is trying new ways to lure customers into its stores. For example, there's now an arrangement that lets Urban Outfitters' online shoppers pick up their orders at Walgreens locations.
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 a whole lot of 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.
Things Remembered is using technology to avoid becoming a forgotten retail relic: The shops now have "personalization bars" where customers can use iPads to design unique, personalized gifts.
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.
Women who wear larger sizes are frustrated to see Avenue go, says Marcy Cruz, blog editor for PLUS Model Magazine. "Many brands feel like women over a size 24 are not shopping," Cruz told New York's Newsday.
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.
The plan is to add a jaw-dropping 800 new Old Navy stores in North America, by opening 75 each year for the next several years.
Stores closing in 2019: The first of at least 250
Chico's can't beat Amazon, so it's joining 'em: The retailer is now selling its women's clothing and accessories 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.
Chico's has a surprising backstory: The chain started in 1983 as Chico’s Folk Art Specialties, a shop selling Mexican folk art and sweaters on Sanibel Island, Florida. The owners named the place after a friend's pet parrot, Chico.
8. Charming Charlie
Stores closing in 2019: 261
The charm wore off for this seller of colorful handbags, fashionable sunglasses, flashy jewelry and other women's accessories and clothing.
Charming Charlie filed for bankruptcy for the second time in less than two years, and this time it was fatal. In the summer of 2019, the retailer closed all of its stores in 38 states and put itself out of business.
In the new bankruptcy filing, the company said its costs — including "onerous leases" on its stores — just became too much to handle.
But we may not have seen the end of Charming Charlie. Founder Charlie Chanaratsopon hopes to bring the company back to life and paid $1.1 million for the chain's name (well, it is his name, after all), mailing list and other intellectual property.
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 in all of those places now.
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.
The company is updating another 1,000 Family Dollar stores — by adding coolers and freezers to hold more food products, giving customers additional beauty and household items to choose from, and offering stuff that's sold for $1 at Dollar Tree.
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. The bankruptcy filing said the chain's sales had suffered a "dramatic decrease."
Charlotte Russe borrowed its name from a French dessert, and a new owner is trying to give shoppers another helping.
Toronto-based YM Inc. bought the brand in late March and reopened a few stores over the summer. The goal is to put 100 of them back in business, according to a tweet from the Charlotte Russe Twitter account.
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 — and 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. Early in 2019, it sold its Maurices chain.
Dressbarn got its start in Stamford, Connecticut, in the early 1960s. Executives say it was founded by a couple "who recognized the need of women who were entering the workforce for a convenient one-stop shop where they could find fashion at a value."
Stores closing in 2019: 800
Gymboree was playing a game of retail dodgeball — and lost.
The chain that sold clothing for kids and babies came out of bankruptcy in 2017, but in January 2019 the retailer filed all over again and announced it was shutting 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.
And now, The Children's Place is planning to bring back its former rival, sort of. The Children's Place bought the Gymboree name and says it will sell Gymboree clothing at 200 Children's Place stores starting in early 2020.
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 announced it was closing its last 2,100 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and would go 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.