After a couple years of slowing sales, layoffs and digital disruption, the clouds appear to have lifted across much of retail. Still, whether they’re run-of-the-mill closures — spurred by factors like lease expirations and shifts in marketing — or a larger effort to downsize in response to slumping sales, many retailers continue to shutter doors.
Here’s a look at the retailers that have closed stores so far this year.
Toys R Us
In March, Toys R Us announced that it would be shutting down all U.S. operations. With its closure, the store joined a long list of beloved retailers to call it quits (Sports Authority, Blockbuster, RadioShack, etc.). Ultimately, what led to the retailer’s demise was its massive debt load and private equity ownership model — as well as its failure to create an irreplaceable in-store experience amid the boom of e-commerce.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early 2018, Bon-Ton Stores Inc. announced in April that it would be closing more than 200 stores as part of a deal to liquidate its assets. The debt-saddled retailer initially had tried to find a buyer to revitalize its business. But when no one was willing to take on the chain’s massive debt, a complete shutdown became inevitable — leading to dozens of empty mall spaces across the country.
For Sears Holdings Corp., the retail woes continue. Over the course of 2018, the department store owner has decided to close nearly 250 underperforming Sears and Kmart locations. The most recent round of closures came in August when Sears announced that 13 Kmart and 33 Sears stores would be shuttered in November. The retailer aims to streamline operations and focus on its highest-performing locations — and is also testing new initiatives such as a Kmart shop-in-shop that opened in a Brooklyn Sears this summer.
After shuttering almost 140 stores in 2017, JCPenney announced early this year that it would be closing eight more locations. In an effort to turn things around, the retailer has begun to offer in-store pickup for online purchases and has added brands like Nike to its product mix. But JCPenney’s latest earnings report demonstrated that it has a ways to go, with sales falling below analysts’ bets in the second quarter.
News of Foot Locker’s plans to shut down around 110 stores in 2018 hit the airwaves in March — but there’s no reason for sneakerheads to panic. The retailer reported better-than-expected earnings in the second quarter, spurred by strong sales of running and casual styles. The store closures follow a decade-long trend for the retailer amid an industrywide shift from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce.
Decreased inventory and expanding e-commerce have led to gains for Macy’s in recent months. But the retailer started off 2018 with a fresh round of store closures, shuttering 11 locations as part of a previously announced plan to ax more than 100 stores.
Lord & Taylor
Hudson’s Bay Co. revealed in June that it would shutter 10 locations by 2019, including its flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue. The department store chain has shifted some of its focus toward e-commerce in an attempt to increase profitability. Lord & Taylor has also launched its flagship on Walmart.com, allowing the retail giant to tap into the luxury segment.
After closing around 50 stores in 2017, J. Crew revealed plans to shutter 20 more stores in the 2018 fiscal year. The brand ended a four-year-long sales slump in the second quarter — spurred in large part by the success of sister brand Madewell — so it appears the apparel company may have turned a corner.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Abercrombie & Fitch Co., parent company to A&F and Hollister, announced plans to shutter 60 stores in 2018 through natural lease expirations. The company has closed more than 400 locations since 2010. So far in 2018, the woes continue for Abercrombie, which reported lower-than-expected earnings for the second quarter, causing share prices to take a tumble.
After Victoria’s Secret reported lackluster earnings for the second quarter — including a 1 percent drop in same-quarter sales — the lingerie brand announced it would be closing 20 of its stores this year.