6 Major Department Stores Have Already Announced Store Closings in 2018 — & It’s Only Been a Month

Macy's
The Macy's department store at Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey.
Rex Shutterstock

With the rise of online shopping, long-standing brick-and-mortars have been cutting back on retail space and shuttering their doors throughout 2017, and it seems unlikely that the trend will stop this year.

Just today, Nordstrom Inc. announced its decision to close its Salem Center, Ore., store, leaving just three full-line stores in the state. The Seattle-based retailer currently runs about 360 stores, with more than 230 under the discounted Nordstrom Rack name, six of which remain in Oregon.

“The decision to close a store is never one we take lightly,” president Jamie Nordstrom said in a statement. “Unfortunately, we don’t think investing in Salem Center is the best approach for us moving forward.”

But it’s not just Nordstrom that’s making decisions to ditch underperforming stores amid retail challenges. Just one month into 2018, six other department stores have announced closings. On Wednesday, Bon-Ton revealed that it was shutting down 42 stores across the Northeast, Midwest and Great Plains. As part of a restructuring plan it introduced in November, the company intends to open smaller locations, allowing itself to reset inventory to focus more on private-label brands and less on seasonal fashion clothing and accessories.

“We are taking the next steps in our efforts to move forward with a more productive store footprint,” CEO Bill Tracy said in a statement. “We remain focused on executing our key initiatives to drive improved performance in an effort to strengthen our capital structure to support the business going forward.”

Another department store seeing its traditional business sink is J.C. Penney Co. Inc., which plans to close its 183,000-square-foot Westfield Garden State Plaza anchor location in Paramus, N.J., after 60 years as a mainstay at the center. Sears Holdings Corp. is also closing 64 Kmart stores and 39 Sears stores — with the majority of closings expected by April. Macy’s Inc., which announced in August 2016 its plans to shutter 100 doors, revealed it would close 11 stores in early 2018, completing 81 of its planned closures.

Companies hoping to reinvent themselves amid digital shifts have attempted a number of strategies, including launching smaller-format outposts, forming buzzier partnerships and revamping mobile and Web platforms to offer faster delivery and shipping options.