Thousands of retailers shut their doors last year, and thousands more will do the same this year.
Moody’s lead retail analyst Charlie O’Shea didn’t sugarcoat his outlook last year regarding retail store closings in 2018. He plainly said, “I think the early part of next year will be pretty bad … I think it will be tough.”
He wasn’t wrong.
Following approximately 7,000 total store closures in 2017, a Business Insider analysis projects another 3,600 closings this year. Marketing and data analysis firm Cushman & Wakefield thinks it will be much worse than that, anticipating more than 12,000 store closings this year as more merchants decide to bow out.
The store closings won’t just come from obscure companies that lack enough scale to remain viable. Some of the victims are highly recognizable names that used to be the pillars of the shopping world. Privately held Toys R Us, the former king of toys, announced that it will close or sell all of its 800-plus U.S. locations as it navigates the bankruptcy process. Even with a turnaround in view, department-store chain Macy’s (M) is still pulling the plug on some of its locations.
We’ve seen some proverbial green shoots from certain retailers, to be fair. Macy’s has dropped believable hints that it can remain viable in a digital world, particularly if it sheds dead-weight stores. Electronic retailer Best Buy (BBY), under the leadership of turnaround guru Hubert Joly, has stopped the bleeding started by online rival Amazon.com (AMZN). Even Target (TGT) has found a way to compete with bigger brick-and mortar rival Walmart (WMT) and e-commerce behemoth Amazon at the same time.
But not all retailers have found ways to survive – let alone thrive – in a world where the internet has not only proven disruptive, but also where consumer preferences have shifted. Case in point: According to a Harris Group study, 72% of millennials say they’d rather pay for a memorable experience than purchase actual goods (and more affluent older shoppers are increasingly leaning in that direction).
With that as the backdrop, the list of companies closing down stores this year is deep and wide, meaning not only are a large number of retailers shuttering some stores, many of them are shuttering a whole lot of stores. This list will be updated throughout the year when and if other retailers make additional announcements.
Retail Store Closings Expected in 2018
- Abercrombie & Fitch: Teen-oriented retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) had already pared its store count down to 868 stores as of the end of last year. But when management released fourth-quarter results, it also said it was looking to cull another 60 locations in 2018.
- Ascena: Ascena Retail Group (ASNA) isn’t a household name, but you probably know its store brands. Dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Justice, Ann Taylor, Loft and a couple of others are all part of the Ascena family. In all, Ascena operates 4,700 locations. By the middle of 2019, however, it will have at least 268 fewer stores than it did in mid-2017, when it decided some of those units had to close their doors. An additional 399 could be shuttered if Ascena can’t negotiate lower rent payments for those locales.
- Best Buy: In retrospect, the decision to open 250 smaller stores – mostly…