As more consumers shift to online shopping, the number of closures among department stores, supermarkets, minimarts, and other retail shops continues to grow. And due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, store closures could hit a new high in 2020 and 2021, with global marketing research firm Coresight Research forecasting over 15,000 gross closures in 2020 ― up from a record-high of 9,548 in 2019. To get a clear picture of how the rise of e-commerce and the threat of the current pandemic have hurt retailers so far, below is a slideshow of companies that have or about to shut down some or all of their brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. this 2020 and 2021. The list also includes some notable businesses that closed a huge number of stores in 2019.
Consumer electronics chain Fry’s Electronics stopped the regular operations of all its 31 stores across nine U.S. states and started the “wind-down” process on February 24th, 2021. “It is hoped that undertaking the wind-down through this orderly process will reduce costs, avoid additional liabilities, minimize the impact on our customers, vendors, landlords and associates, and maximize the value of the company’s assets for its creditors and other stakeholders,” the company said in a statement posted on its website.
The 36-year-old company said it made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently because of the changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Department store chain Century 21 announced in September that it filed for bankruptcy and is shutting down its business. Currently comprised of 13 stores, Century 21 was already struggling even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the New York-headquartered retailer ultimately decided to close down after it did not get $175 million it had filed for under its business interruption insurance for the revenue it lost when the global health crisis forced store closures last March.
“We now have no viable alternative but to begin the closure of our beloved family business because our insurers, to whom we have paid significant premiums every year for protection against unforeseen circumstances like we are experiencing today, have turned their backs on us at this most critical time,” said Century 21 co-CEO Raymond Gindi.
Lord & Taylor
Lord & Taylor, the oldest department store chain in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 2nd, revealing that it’s also one of the several retailers that have negatively impacted by temporary store closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Lord & Taylor has already begun liquidating 19 of its 38 stores, and according to a news release, “closing stores feature an abundant assortment of merchandise at significant price reductions” including brands DKNY, Nike, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Bahama. Lord & Taylor said it’s looking for a new owner.
Bed Bath & Beyond
Bed Bath & Beyond announced in July that it would be shutting down roughly 200 stores for good in the next two years. While Bed Bath & Beyond also operates Buybuy Baby, Christmas Tree Shops, and Harmon Face Values, the retail chain made it clear that it would only close Bed Bath & Beyond stores, starting later this year. The permanent store closures are a part of the retail chain’s restructuring plan to help “rebuild and grow the business” following the impact of COVID-19 on the company. Though Bed Bath & Beyond chief executive Mark Tritton believe that the retail chain “will emerge from this crisis even stronger,” it was reported last January the company actually gave up on meeting its previous financial targets for investors, with Tritton himself calling the results “unsatisfactory.”
Sur La Table
High-end kitchenware chain Sur La Table filed for bankruptcy in July after temporarily closing its stores last March due to COVID-19. Though the Seattle-based luxury kitchen retailer already closed over 50 stores, the privately-held brand said that it would continue the operations of its successful stores, its e-commerce business, as well as its in-person and online cooking classes. According to Business Insider, Sur La Table also plans to sell 70 stores to California-based Fortress Investment, which Sur La Table CEO Jason Goldberger believes will “result in a revitalized Sur La Table, positioned to thrive in a post-COVID-19 retail environment.”
Brooks Brothers, the oldest men’s clothier in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection from creditors in July. “We are in the process of identifying the right owner, or owners, to lead our iconic Brooks Brothers brand into the future. It is critical that any potential buyer aligns with our core values, culture, and ambitions,” a spokesperson for the company said. While Brooks Brothers has yet to find a buyer, it already decided to shut down 51 of its stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those closures have already started, with the company moving inventories from the targeted stores to distribution centers. Meanwhile, to support its operations in bankruptcy, Brooks Brothers secured $75 million in debtor-in-possession financing from brand management firm WHP Global.
Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in May with a deal to hand its business over to its creditors. “The binding agreement from our creditors gives us additional liquidity to operate the business during the pandemic and the financial flexibility to accelerate our transformation. We will emerge a far stronger company,” CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said in a statement. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the luxury department store chain had been struggling with dwindling cash and having difficulties competing with its online rivals. Unfortunately for company, the global health crisis exacerbated these problems, forcing it to shut down its 43 Neiman Marcus stores and furlough most of its 14,000 workers.
General Nutrition Center
The 85-year-old vitamin and dietary supplement company filed for bankruptcy in June, and revealed its plans to shut down 20% of its 5,800 retail stores, which amounts to as many as 1,200 locations across the country. GNC has been burdened with nearly $1 billion of debt and has faced drop in sales at its physical stores long before the pandemic. But after obtaining $130 million in fresh financing from its largest vendor, vitamin supplier IVC, the company aims to emerge from bankruptcy in the fall.
Fashion retailer L Brands announced in May that it’s closing 235 Victoria’s Secret stores in the U.S. and 15 Victoria’s Secret locations in Canada. The closings would take place over the next several months and additional closures were anticipated. “We would expect to have a meaningful number of additional store closures beyond the 250 that we’re pursuing this year, meaning there will be more in 2021 and probably a bit more in 2022,” said interim Victoria’s Secret CEO Stuart Burgdoerfer, after it was revealed that L Brands’ total company sales declined 37% in the quarter that ended May 2nd.
Due to struggling sales in recent months that has been made worse by the coronavirus shutdown, the department store chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May and announced that it would be closing 242 stores or about a quarter of all its locations in 2020. Also, after 91 years, it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange in the same month.
J.Crew Group, Inc. may permanently close all its 181 namesake stores this year after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May. Having amassed an enormous amount of debt from a private-equity buyout deal in 2011, J. Crew was already on weak footing long before the onset of the pandemic. Sadly, the global health crisis made the company’s future even bleaker as it temporarily closed its stores as part of the effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Pier 1 Imports
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, the home furnishings retailer announced in May that it’s asking the bankruptcy court to close all its stores “as soon as reasonably possible” The company, which currently has more than 500 stores in the U.S. and Canada, blamed the drastic decision to the temporary store closures caused by COVID-19 and its failure to find a buyer.
Walgreens continues to work on the 200 U.S. store closures that it announced in August 2019. This round of closings is in addition to a previously announced cut of 750 U.S. stores, which the pharmacy store chain has said it expects to complete by the end of this year. The closures are part of the company’s ongoing cost management program that seeks to accelerate the transformation of its business, enable investments in key areas, and become a more efficient enterprise.
The fast-fashion retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2019, revealing that it was ceasing operations in 40 countries and closing most of its international and 178 of its U.S. stores. Though those closings were announced in 2019, a few didn’t happen until early 2020. Just this February, Forever 21 had reached a deal to sell all of its assets for $81 million to mall operators Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties, and brand management firm Authentic Brands Group.
In 2019, Gap Inc. said it planned to close 230 of its namesake stores over the next two years. The company also said at the time that Old Navy would be spun into its own separate business, but had a change of heart early 2020 after suspecting that the costly and complex process of divorcing the brand from its parent company would not outweigh the “appropriate value from separation.”
Nordstrom had already closed four of its locations in 2019, and as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the luxury department store chain is permanently shutting down additional 16 outlets in 2020. Six of the closing stores are located in California — Escondido, Montclair, Pleasanton, Riverside, Sacramento, and Santa Barbara, while the other 10 stores are in Chandler, Arizona; Broomfield, Colorado; Miami and Naples, Florida; Annapolis, Maryland; Freehold, New Jersey; Happy Valley, Oregon; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Hurst, Texas; and Richmond, Virginia.
Papyrus’ parent company Schurman Retail Group filed for bankruptcy in January and announced that all its stationery and greeting card stores would close. At the time of the filing, there were 254 Papyrus stores ― 178 of them were in the U.S. while the rest were in Canada. Liquidation sales began in the same month, and by early March, 30 of its closed stores were picked up by its rival retailer Paper Source.
Though technically not a retail business, Gold’s Gym has also been badly hit by the pandemic. The chain of fitness centers announced in April that it would permanently close 30 company-owned locations out of its 7000 gyms in the U.S. and overseas. A month later, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an effort to “facilitate the financial restructuring of the company.”
Payless ShoeSource emerged from bankruptcy in January only to fall back in. Though the discount footwear chain hasn’t announced any store closures yet in 2020, it memorably shut down more than 2,500 stores in 2019 ― the largest number of closings by a retailer last year.
In November 2019, Transformco announced that it would shut down a total of 51 Sears locations by mid-February 2020. Additional 29 store closures were announced in February.
Sears’ sibling company, Kmart, wasn’t exempted from store closures. Transformco revealed in November 2019 that it would shut down 45 Kmart locations by mid-February 2020. Additional 15 store closures were announced in February.
The children’s clothing retailer Gymboree Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2019. At that time, it announced that it would shut down all its Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. Over a year later, in February 2020, Gymboree relaunched online and at select Children’s Place stores.
In February 2019, Southeastern Grocers announced plans to close 22 locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This round of closures included 13 BI-LO locations, 7 Winn-Dixie locations and 2 Harveys Supermarkets. But in a surprising turn of events, the supermarket chain announced in May 2020 that it’s purchasing 4 Lucky’s Market stores and 4 Earth Fare stores in Florida.
Foot Locker Inc. announced in March 2019 that it would close 165 stores that year. While that’s a sizeable number, the move made perfect sense, as more and more people start to purchase footwear online. In fact, Foot Locker EVP and CFO Lauren Peters revealed on a conference call with analysts in May 2020 that the company’s online growth approached triple-digits in April amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ascena Retail Group announced in May 2019 that all its 650 Dressbarn locations would shut down. Though those stores were closed for good in December of that year, Dressbarn is still in business after relaunching its online store this January 2020.
Ann Taylor, Loft, Lou & Grey, Lane Bryant, Catherines, Cacique, and Justice
Prior to the closures of the entire Dressbarn locations, its parent company Ascena Retail Group previously announced that it would be closing up to 667 stores across all of its brands through 2019. In addition to Dressbarn, those brands include Ann Taylor, Loft, Lou & Grey, Lane Bryant, Catherines, Cacique, and Justice.
The Children’s Place
As part of a multiyear plan, the children’s apparel and accessories retailer previously announced that it would shut down 300 underperforming stores by 2020. 191 of those stores were closed in 2018 and around 45 locations were shut down in 2019. The rest of the 300 stores is expected to close their doors permanently by the end of this year.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch shut down 40 stores in 2019, and it looks like the clothing retailer is expected to close additional locations in 2020 after its sales tanked 34% during the first quarter of the year because of the coronavirus shutdown. The company has trimmed its gross square footage by 14% since 2015, and chief financial officer Scott Lipesky said that 2020 should be no different. “As we have stated before, we are willing to walk away from any location, if we cannot get terms that work for us,” Lipesky told analysts in May. “The disruption we have seen from the pandemic only reinforces this perspective.”
Christopher & Banks
In late 2018, the women’s clothing retailer announced its plan to shut down up to 40 stores by 2020. While it’s unclear if more store closures will be announced later this year due to COVID-19, president and CEO Keri Jones said in a May press release that they were “pleased” with the momentum of their business prior to the coronavirus pandemic “as positive comparable sales extended through February.”
The makeup brand closed all its 22 retail locations in February 2019. Since the stores were shut down, the brand’s products have remained available on the company’s website and in various drugstores nationwide. During the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year fiscal 2020 conference call in May, e.l.f. Cosmetics chairman and CEO Tarang Amin said that the store closures was their “biggest cost savings initiative to date.”
Chico’s, Soma, and White House Black Market
Prior to the temporary closures of its stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chico’s FAS was already well on its way to a digital-only business model. And as part of that transition, the women’s clothing retailer previously announced that it would shut down 250 stores across its brands Chico’s, Soma, and White House Black Market by 2022.
Destination Maternity and Motherhood Maternity
Destination Maternity Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2019 and simultaneously announced its plans to close 201 Destination Maternity and Motherhood Maternity stores. In a court document, the corporation blamed its bankruptcy filing and store closures to the retail industry’s turmoil, declining birth rates, high rents, and leadership turnover. The retailer has had five CEOs in the last five years.
The clothing retail store chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2019 and announced that it would liquidate its remaining stores and assets. Two months later, the brand was sold to Toronto-based YM Inc., which claimed to have opened around 135 stores by November 2019.
In March 2019, Family Dollar’s parent company, Dollar Tree, announced that it was closing as many as 390 Family Dollar stores nationwide due to heavy pressure from an activist investor. In addition to the store closures, Dollar Tree also revealed at that time that it was converting another 200 underperforming Family Dollar stores into Dollar Tree locations.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2019, the retail store announced two months later that it would close all its locations across the country. Though all of its stores were permanently shut down in June of the same year, Shopko Optical locations continue to operate. As of January 2020, there are 81 Shopko Optical locations open nationwide.
The multi-national fast-fashion retailer announced in February 2019 that it was closing 160 stores in the U.S. While the country continues to be one of the challenging markets for the brand, H&M has seen both online and physical store growth overseas, especially in China, India, and Russia. In fact, the majority of its planned 335 new stores in 2019 are located outside of the U.S. and Europe.
Though Starbucks is a coffeehouse chain and not a retail store, it’s worthy to note that the Seattle-headquartered company closed 150 of its underperforming locations in 2019. That figure was unprecedented as it was about three times the number of stores it typically closes in a fiscal year. The said closures took place in oversaturated markets, where Starbucks branches were competing with each other.
Performance Bicycle’s parent company Advanced Sports International filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2018. It was thought that about half of the discount chain’s 104 locations would survive under renegotiated leases. However, Advanced Sports International ultimately opted to fold the brand altogether, shuttering all its stores by March 2019.
The chain of home improvement stores shut down 51 underperforming stores in 2019 ― 20 of those were in the U.S. while the remaining 31 were located in Canada. The said closures happened not long after ex-J.C. Penney CEO Marvin R. Ellison took over the company, following the retirement of its longtime CEO Robert Niblock.
After 123 years in business, all Henri Bendel stores were shut down in January 2019. Henri Bendel’s parent company L Brand announced the closures of its last 23 stores back in September 2018, explaining that the move was part of the corporation’s efforts to focus on its more successful brands like Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works.
The home furniture retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2019, citing liquidity crunch, failure to invest in e-commerce, and costly distribution operation, among other reasons. It also announced plans to close 17 locations in the same year, with more closings expected in the future.
Beauty Brands filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2019, a few weeks after announcing that it would close 25 of its 58 locations nationwide. Apparently, additional stores were shut down, as the chain of salon and spa superstore only operates 25 locations as of March 2020.
Things Remembered, a chain of personalized gifts stores, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2019. A month later, Enesco LLC purchased Things Remembered, including 176 of its stores. At the time of bankruptcy filing, the chain had 450 locations — meaning 274 stores would shut down.
After announcing in January that it would close 29 locations in 2020, Macy’s revealed in May that it would shut down nearly 100 locations more. The retailer said that closing weaker stores in lower-tier malls would allow it to focus on locations with stronger sales as well as its online operations.
In a January 2019 SEC filing, Kohl’s revealed that it would close four of its stores that year. Those stores were poor performing locations that were either located inside a mall or near one. Despite the store closures, Kohl’s said in the same announcement that it would open four smaller stores, which were 35,000 square feet in size.