U.S. store openings are already outpacing closures this year, according to data from Coresight Research’s U.S. Store Tracker.
Year-to-date data shows that there have been 742 announced store closures, down 65% compared to the same period in 2021 as of the last week in January. Store opening announcements — currently at 1,910 and up 3% from 2021 — have thus far largely outpaced closings.
Overall, 2021 was a stable year in terms of closings and openings when compared to the massive wave of 9,689 closures in 2020. There were 5,048 store opening for the full year of 2021, which outpaced closures slightly due to fewer retail bankruptcies and increased demand. The National Retail Federation (NRF) said the 2021 growth was due to a general rebound from the mass store closures in 2020 as well as stimulus checks and growth in consumer spending.
In light of a strong retail environment in 2021, many retailers have already announced plans for new stores in 2022. Overall, discount and low price chains such as TJX Companies, Ross Stores, and Citi Trends have led the way when it comes to store opening announcements.
While e-commerce was top of mind during city-wide shutdowns in 2020, retailers are now embracing an omni-channel approach to their distribution strategy — and physical stores are a major part of that.
Dollar General said last year that it plans to open 1,000 new Popshelf concept stores, or a higher-priced retail concept meant to attract higher income shoppers, by 2025. The discount chain also plans to expand internationally for the first time by opening 10 stores in Mexico by the end of fiscal 2022.
Savage X Fenty, Rihanna’s lingerie brand, has already announced that it would open five new store locations across the U.S. this year.
Dick’s Sporting Goods also has plans to open more experiential retail concept stores in 2022.
While fewer bankruptcies in 2021 helped bolster retailers overall, S&P Global Market Intelligence data suggests that U.S. corporate bankruptcies could speed up in 2022 after a lull in 2021. Experts predict that smaller companies will be more at risk than larger, public companies, due to their limited access to capital markets.