A Look Back at Iconic Department Stores That Went Out of Business

As the retail apocalypse drags on, it continues to claim department store chains among its victims.

Barneys New York is the latest to fall, having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August. While the luxury retailer could be acquired by Authentic Brands Group this month for $271.4 million, its seven locations would reportedly be shuttered as part of the deal.

The iconic company follows a growing list of familiar names that have closed doors.

Just last year, Bon-Ton closed 200 stores after failing to find a buyer. The retailer had been around since 1898. In addition to the Bon-Ton stores, the company closed shops operating under the Carson’s, Younkers, Elder-Beerman, Bergner’s, Boston Store and Herberger’s names.

A customers enter a The Bon Ton store, which is scheduled to close, in Concord, N.HRetail Sales, Concord, USA - 23 Feb 2018
A Bon-Ton store in New Hampshire with a closing banner pictured in February 2018.
CREDIT: Charles Krupa/Shutterstock

While Bon-Ton shut down after failing to find a buyer, other department stores have seen less dramatic endings.

One of the original five-and-dime stores, Woolworth’s was among the largest retailers internationally in the mid-20th century — but by the 1980s, it was struggling. Its sportswear division was a bright spot, so eventually the Woolworth’s name was abandoned entirely, spun off into its successor: Foot Locker.

F W Woolworth's Store New Orleans Usa 1930sHistorical Collection 103
A Woolworth’s in New Orleans, rendered in the 1930s.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

Many of the once-strong chains ended up being converted into Macy’s stores after being acquired by the department store’s parent — including Marshall Field’s, Hecht’s and Dayton’s.

Marshall Field’s was a Chicago institution, having been founded in 1852 and survived through the Great Chicago Fire and two World Wars. Despite Windy City residents’ protests, the iconic State Street flagship was converted to a Macy’s in 2006, marking the end of an era.

Marshall Fields Great Store and the Masonic Temple, State and Randolph Sts., Chicago, Il. Sterocard ca. 1909Historical Collection
A 1909 stenograph showing Marshall Field’s in Chicago.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

See more photos of store closures through the years

Want more

Will the Union of Barneys & Saks Help Refuel the Department Store Sector?

Study Predicts 1 in 5 DepartmentStores Will Close by 2023

New Study: Retailers and Consumers Disagree on What Matters Most While Shopping

imbox Sponsored

Customer Experience, Revenue Stream and Sustainability Come Wrapped in an IMBOX

Sustainable, footwear protection technology company, IMBOX Protection, is bringing its in-store service to the U.S. market for increased foot traffic and basket size with a new revenue stream.
Learn More

Access exclusive content