Closures are unfortunately a continuing trend for retail industry

Retail store closures don’t appear to be slowing down in the industry.

There have been over 7,100 store closures announced by U.S. retailers this year, according to a tracking done by Coresight Research and that number could hit 12,000 and beyond by the end of 2019, setting a new record.

Last year retail store closures were at 5,524 for 2018, which was down more than 30% from an all-time high of 8,139 closures announced in 2017.

With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, most retailers planning to shut stores this year have already shuffled through those announcements so they can shift their focus toward the industry’s busiest times.

But analysts say there are still some exhausted businesses teetering on the brink of survival, as sales continue to shift to the internet and newer brands to the market like Neighborhood Goods.

All the store closure announcements have also been bad news for U.S. mall owners which are already struggling with traffic to department stores that are falling off.

That being said, landlords are getting creative with their malls and available space with now bringing in eating establishments, e-commerce brands and even changing available space over to apartments, hotels and office spaces and owners reinvent the mall model.

But it is not all bad news for retailers as there are still retailers opening stores as there have been over 3,000 store opening announcements this year. Lululemon opened its largest store ever in Chicago along with the plan to open a massive, 3-million-square-foot mall called American Dream in New Jersey in late October or early November of this year, showing that there is still some life in retail.

While some retailers are closing nonperforming stores they are opening new locations in different markets. Bed Bath & Beyond plans to close at least 40 locations this year, while opening 15 stores. Bath & Body Works also has some closures planned for about two dozen locations this year, but will also be opening 46 stores and renovating more than 170 locations.

Specialty apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch Co has plans to close up to 40 stores during fiscal 2019, after closing 29 locations in 2018 as the company works toward reducing the size of its stores and remodeling existing locations. Abercrombie also has plans to open additional stores this year, to make up for the closures, after opening 22 stores in 2018.

by Jamie Barrie