Online Penetration Could Result in 75,000 Store Closures

Updated: Apr 15


According to a UBS analysis reported by CNBC, for every 1% increase in online penetration, a corresponding 8,000 to 8,500 retail stores will need to close. With the recent estimates of the online share of total retail ranging from 12% to 16%, if the UBS prediction pans out by 2026 upwards of 75,000 stores will need to be closed, which is the equivalent of 7% of the current 1,044,754 retail stores in the US. For further perspective, 75,000 stores closures translates into nearly 11,000 per year, which is nearly double the current store closing rate. The UBS analysis estimates that the hardest hit sectors will be clothing (21,000 stores), consumer electronics (10,000 stores), home furnishings (8,000 stores), grocery (7,000 stores), and home improvement/hardware (1,000 stores). Moreover, despite an offset with store openings in certain retail sectors, according to Coresight Research, in the first 14 weeks of 2019, 5,846 store closings have been announced. The total for 2018 was 5,854. Household names in the recent announcements of store closings includes:

  • Signet (Kay, Zales and Jared Jewelers - 150 Stores (262 last year)

  • Roberto Cavalli - 12 stores

  • Payless Shoes - 2,500 stores

  • Gymboree - 805 stores

  • Shopko - 251 stores

  • Charlotte Russe - 500 stores

  • Performance Bicycles - 102 stores

  • Z Gallerie - 17 stores

  • Gap - 250 stores over the next 2 years

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

  • Abercrombie & Fitch - 40 stores (29 last year)

  • Family Dollar - 390 stores

  • Chico's - 60-80 stores

  • JC Penny - 18 stores

  • Macy's - 8 stores

While it may no longer be coined "apocalypse," it seems that what has quickly become the new norm in retail has only just begun.

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