In Spite of Retail Spending Increases, Store Closures Could Break a Record

Updated: Apr 15


According to the Department of Commerce, American shoppers increased their spending in June leading to the fourth consecutive month of increased retail sales. Accounting for more than two-thirds of economic output, retail sales, including purchases at stores, online and restaurants, rose a seasonally adjusted .4% in June from May and rose 3.4% year-over-year. These increases are a strong indication that in spite of tariff threats and global growth concerns, consumers are strongly supporting the US economy. Something interesting to consider, however, is that although retail spending has steadily increased, which includes an 11.6% year-over-over increase in online sales, as of six months into 2019, according to Coresight Research 20% more store closings have been announced than in all of 2018. That is more than 7,000 stores slated to shutter so far this year with estimates upwards of 12,000 by the end of the year. Store closings are on track to beat the record year of 8,139 shuttered stores in 2017. The top 25 household names with the largest store closing announcements so far this year include:

  • Payless ShoeSource - 2,589 stores

  • Gymboree & Crazy 8 - 805 stores

  • Dress Barn - 649 stores

  • Charlotte Russe - 494 stores

  • Fred's - 442 stores

  • Family Dollar - 390 stores

  • Shopko - 371 stores

  • Charming Charlie - 261 stores

  • GNC - 233 stores

  • Gap - 230+ stores over the next 2 years

  • Walgreens - 195 stores

  • Foot Locker - 165 stores

  • Signet (Kay, Zales, and Jared Jewelers) - 150 Stores

  • Ascena Retail - 120 stores 

  • Destination Maternity - 117 Stores

  • Sears - 72 stores

  • Pier 1 Imports - 57 stores, but could be up to 145

  • L Brands (Victoria's Secret) - 53 stores

  • Office Depot - 50 stores

  • Vera Bradley - 50 stores

  • Kmart - 48 stores

  • CVS - 46 stores

  • Party City - 45 stores

  • Sears Hometown and Outlet - 45 stores

  • The Children's Place - 45 stores

There is no doubt that retail is evolving at an unpredictable velocity. The challenges those faced with closing stores, however, really has not changed - too much debt, no effective and timely omnichannel strategy, and an inability to adapt to evolving consumer behavior. While brick-and-mortar retail is still relevant, especially considering its impact on branding a retailer and improving online traffic, how the market will balance out the number of stores required shows no signs of settling. As the saying goes, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

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