As Americans do more and more of their shopping on their devices instead of at the store, traditional retailers are reeling. Some are being forced to shrink — or go out of business altogether.
Already 2017 has been a year of massive store closings, led by these chains.
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Gymboree is scaling back its playground. It’s closing more than a quarter of its kids’ clothing stores as it tries to adapt to an “evolving retail landscape.”
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on June 11; exactly one month later, it announced it was shutting down 350 of its Gymboree and Crazy 8 locations, out of a total of nearly 1,300.
Payless ShoeSource filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April and said it would shut down around 400 of its weaker stores. In May, the company indicated it could close 408 additional locations.
The discount footwear chain — founded more than 60 years ago in Topeka, Kansas — has found itself running behind online competitors.
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RadioShack used to be everywhere, but now the electronics chain has largely vanished from the retail map. The company that once operated 7,300 stores says it closed more than 1,000 of its remaining locations over Memorial Day weekend — leaving just 70 stores still operating.
The retailer that began in Boston in 1921 says the closings continue a move from brick-and-mortar stores to RadioShack.com.
Mall mainstay J.C. Penney says it’s shutting down as many as 140 of its department stores — up to 14 percent of the total — by mid-2017. The company is offering 6,000 employees early retirement.
Closing stores will allow Penney to “effectively compete against the growing threat of online retailers,” chairman and CEO Marvin Ellison said in a news release.
After shuttering dozens of stores in 2016, department store giant Macy’s began 2017 by announcing plans to close 68 more of its locations, including a store in downtown Minneapolis that opened in 1902. The company estimates that 3,900 jobs will be lost as a result of the closures.
“We continue to experience declining traffic in our stores,” Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said in a news release.
Struggling Sears Holdings Corp. began the year saying it would shut down 42 of its Sears stores. in May it moved to close a dozen more, in June another 20 locations were added to the closure list, and in July eight more were targeted.
Where will it end? Here’s one possible clue: In a March 21 filing with regulators, the retailer warned that there’s “substantial doubt” about the company’s ability to continue.
At the start of 2017, Sears’ parent company said it also was closing 108 of its Kmart discount stores. In the spring, the company quietly started winding down business at 18 additional Kmart locations. And in July, 35 more made a closings list.
The stores going out of business in 2017 have included the very first Kmart, which opened in 1962 in Garden City, Michigan.
In early 2017, women’s clothing retailer The Limited announced it was turning out the lights at all 250 of its stores.
The company showed signs of doom during its major holidays sales (with a no-returns policy) and ultimately filed for bankruptcy. Some 4,000 workers were laid off, according to Business Insider.
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Abercrombie & Fitch — whose torn jeans and ripped models epitomized cool in the 1990s and early 2000s — says it will shut down 60 of its U.S. stores in 2017 as their leases expire. That’s out of approximately 285 stores worldwide.
Research group Fitch Ratings predicts Abercrombie will continue to struggle.
Luxury fashion brand Michael Kors announced in May it would be closing up to 125 of its more than 800 retail stores over the course of two years.
The company is in “a difficult retail environment” and under pressure from price-cutting rivals, Kors chairman and CEO John Idol says.
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Contemporary apparel, footwear and accessory brand Guess says it’s closing 60 of its stores by the end of the year. The company says in a statement that it’s shrinking its footprint because its business in the Americas has been “soft.”
As of April 2017, Guess operated about 950 stores worldwide.
The hip U.S.-made clothing retailer American Apparel filed for bankruptcy early in 2017 and has since closed all of its more than 100 U.S. stores. Canada’s Gildan Activewear acquired the American Apparel brand but passed on taking over the retail stores.
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Electronics and appliance chain hhgregg filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early 2017 and announced plans to close 88 of its 220 stores. The retailer says it expects to emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger and more agile company. The closings will eliminate approximately 1,500 jobs.
Another chain going to bankruptcy court in 2017 is the women’s apparel retailer BCBG Max Azria. It filed for Chapter 11 in March after announcing it would shutter 120 of its locations, more than a quarter of the total.
Acting Interim CEO Marty Staff says BCBG is trying to address “the shift in customer shopping patterns and the growth of online shopping.”
Crocs — the maker of that molded, casual footwear that’s sold in just about any color you can imagine — says it plans to shut down 160 of its retail stores by the end of 2018, reducing its retail footprint by nearly a third. Crocs lost $44.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
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Too many shoppers have taken a hike away from outdoor gear retailer Gander Mountain, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March and said it would close 32 stores throughout the spring. The chain, which opened in 1960 and operates more than 160 stores throughout the country, says it has been challenged by “shifts in consumer demand” related to the growth of e-commerce.
Pharmacy giant CVS says it will close 70 stores in 2017, out of its total of more than 9,600.
The company says the effort is part of streamlining initiative to improve efficiency, lower overall costs and remain nimble in an ever-changing health care environment.
Chico’s FAS, which owns women’s clothing and apparel stores Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma, announced in 2015 that it would be closing 120 stores through 2017 to cut costs and improve productivity. As of January, the company operated more than 1,500 stores.
The Children’s Place, a clothing chain for kids, announced in March 2015 that it would close approximately 200 stores through 2017.
The retailer had originally said it would shut down 125 stores through 2016, but it expanded that plan because of a weak outlook. As of January, The Children’s Place operated about 1,040 stores.
Early in 2017, teen fashion retailer Wet Seal closed its remaining 171 stores. The company had been shrinking since filing for bankruptcy protection in January 2015. The Wall Street Journal reports Wet Seal’s sales dwindled because of fading foot traffic at shopping malls.
Teen apparel chain rue21 began shuttering some 400 stores of its nearly 1,200 stores in April and announced a bankruptcy filing the following month. In a news release, CEO Melanie Cox says even in a tough business climate, the company continues to enjoy “an enthusiastic and loyal customer base, and hundreds of highly performing stores.”
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Women’s clothing seller Bebe closed all 175 of its brick-and-mortar stores this spring and said it would explore new strategies for its business. The company had previously said it would shut down just 21 locations.
2017 is the second year in a row of major downsizing for some retailers. See which chains closed stores in 2016.