Store Closures Continue to Pile Up, With 528 Slated for August

The tally of store closures climbs every month.

So far, 528 store closures have been announced for August, ranging from apparel to party supplies and even drugstores. That’s in addition to the 7,567 announced store closures through July 31, according to a Coresight Research report out Thursday. The Coresight tally already surpasses the 5,524 stores that were shuttered for all of 2018.

By sector, Coresight said apparel specialist stores have led the casualty list, with 2,750 closures announced this year. These include Gymboree, Dressbarn, Charlotte Russe and Charming Charlie. Dressbarn is in the process of winding down operations. The other three liquidated while in bankruptcy proceedings, although the new owner of Charlotte Russe said it plans to bring back about 100 stores.

Among the fashion and apparel retailers, Avenue Stores LLC said Wednesday that it will close all 222 stores across 33 states. Going-out-of-business sales are ongoing at all stores, and are being conducted by a joint venture between Gordon Brothers and Hilco Merchant Resources. The future of the women’s plus-size chain was cast in doubt earlier this month when word surfaced about the financial pressures at the chain.

Similar to the pattern at Gymboree and Charming Charlie, A’gaci is proving that a tour in bankruptcy court isn’t necessarily the answer to solving a retailer’s financial problems. Both Gymboree and Charming Charlie filed for bankruptcy, came out and then re-entered Chapter 11 to wind down operations. A’gaci’s even shorter tour out of bankruptcy proceedings was just a year. The women’s chain will be remembered as an innovator in the fast-fashion movement, but now it’s closing all of its 54 stores.

Barneys New York filed its voluntary Chapter 11 petition on Aug. 6, and in the process, said it would close 15 stores. While the luxury chain plans to keep its Manhattan and Beverly Hills flagships, it will close its Chicago location. The three doors were Barneys’ flagship stores in its first bankruptcy filing back in 1996, when it was feuding with Japanese investor Isetan.

Transform Holdco, which owns the Sears and Kmart nameplates, said it will close a total of 26 stores. On the tally list are 21 Sears stores and 5 Kmart locations. Transform Holdco acquired the bankruptcy operations of the former Sears Holdings Corp. in February.

Party City, the party supplies shop, previously said it was going to shutter 45 doors, but then this week disclosed that it was adding 10 more stores to the closures list.

And drugstore chain Walgreens said in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 6 that it will close 200 locations. The parent company Walgreens Boots Alliance said in June that it would close about the same number of its Boots stores in the U.K.

In the Coresight report, apparel specialty stores accounted for 36% of the total closures this year, versus 14% in 2018. Footwear specialty stores follow at 28%, compared with just 8% of the doors closed in 2018.

On the footwear front, Payless ShoeSource was the single-biggest contributor to store closures. The company, like Gymboree and Charming Charlie, falls into the category of Chapter 22s, so named for their second Chapter 11 filings. Payless filed for the second time in February to liquidate its operations in an orderly manner, closing 2,100 stores in the process.

The Coresight report noted that, while many doors are being closed, some apparel specialty players, like off-pricers Ross Stores and Burlington, plan to open stores. For Ross, 100 new units are slated to open, and Burlington plans to open 50.

Editor’s Note: This story was reported by FN sister magazine Sourcing Journal. For more, visit Sourcingjournal.com.

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