How Retail Store Closures Are Stacking Up So Far in 2019, According to Two Very Different Reports

Is the retail apocalypse over? A new report points in that direction — albeit in blatant contrast to data reported elsewhere for much of the year.

According to a study released this week by global research and advisory firm IHL Group, in 2019, five retail stores are opening for every one that closes.

Of the 1,660 chains reviewed by IHL, 1,065 of them opened new locations this year — representing a 56% increase over 2018, the company found.

Meanwhile, store shutdowns were concentrated among a small number of retailers, with 20 companies accounting for 75% of all net closings in 2019, IHL reported, noting that bankrupt Payless alone represents more than one-fourth of all downsizing, with 2,354 closures. Overall, the study suggests 2018 saw the amount of chains shuttering stores peak while, so far in 2019, there has been a 68% drop in closures.

Another study released this week by Coresight Research, conversely, found year-to-date announced closures that have already exceeded the total recorded for the full year 2018. So far this year, per Coresight, U.S. retailers have announced 7,922 store closures and 3,231 store openings. This, it said, compares to 5,844 closures and 3,258 openings for the full year 2018. Coresight first noted in April that it saw retail stores on track to significantly top last year’s figures, releasing a report estimating that U.S. retailers announced 5,399 store closures in the first 12 weeks of 2019 alone — nearing 2018’s full-year total.

Coresight Research further estimates announced U.S. store closures could reach 12,000 by the end of 2019.

(This story has been updated to reflect new data from Coresight Research.)

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