These days, it’s likely that your local mall or high street looks quite different from how it appeared just a few years ago. And, unfortunately, that’s not just because new stores have arrived to transform the retail landscape. Some of America’s best-loved brick-and-mortar chains have closed a number of their outlets, leaving loyal customers mourning in their wake. So, which brands are shutting up shop, and why?
In 2019 poor financial projections sadly led to the closure of over 300 GameStop stores, with the same number or more expected to shutter in 2020. Yet this may just be a sound business decision. As it stands, every GameStop in the world apparently has two others on average within a five-mile radius.
46. Bed Bath and Beyond
Bed Bath and Beyond may be a mainstay of the American mall, but even the beloved homeware chain hasn’t escaped the woes plaguing the service industry. In January 2020, you see, the firm said that it would be closing 40 stores nationwide. Among the casualties of the retailer’s cull are the Honolulu and Rhode Island outposts; residents of Ohio, meanwhile, will lose not one but four stores.
Marking Christmas and birthdays may be that bit more difficult for the residents of some U.S. cities, after local media reports claimed that Hallmark will be closing 16 of its stores in 2020. Among those already shut is the company’s shop in Forest Park, Illinois, which bid goodbye to customers that January.
44. Forever 21
Troubled fashion retailer Forever 21 has announced that it expects to be closing a whopping 350 of its shops worldwide – with up to 178 stores believed to be shutting in the U.S. alone. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2019, saying that it would “exit most international locations in Asia and Europe.”
The news that audio equipment vendor Bose will shutter 119 of its international stores wouldn’t have been music to the ears of the brand’s fans. Included in this number is the entirety of the retailer’s brick-and-mortar shops in the U.S., although Bose outlets will remain in selected locations across Asia and the United Arab Emirates. The company added in a statement that it had opened its first U.S. retail branch all the way back in 1993.
42. Neiman Marcus Last Call
In March 2020 Neiman Marcus delivered a blow to bargain lovers across the U.S. when it announced that it would be closing most of its Last Call stores. The company said that the “majority” of the 22 discount outlets are to get the chop and that it will be focusing on its luxury lines instead.
41. Olympia Sports
As if the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo wasn’t enough of a blow to athletic types, they’ll also have to contend with the shutdown of 76 Olympia Sports stores. The move comes after the retailer JackRabbit acquired the firm in October 2019.
40. Modell’s Sporting Goods
Modell’s Sporting Goods – which has passed through four generations of the eponymous family – opened its first store in Manhattan in 1889. Sadly, though, the venerable retailer was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2020, and all of its 141 outlets are to be shut down as a consequence.
39. Earth Fare
It seems that the healthy-living boom simply wasn’t enough to save organic and natural grocery chain Earth Fare. In February 2020, you see, the company announced that it would shut down all 50 of its establishments across ten states, with “continued challenges in the retail industry” being the reason for that decision. But it’s not all bad news; two months later, Earth Fare said that it would be re-opening two of its stores in Charleston, South Carolina.
38. Destination Maternity
Destination Maternity may be the largest retailer of baby products anywhere in the world, but it’s certainly not too big to fail. A filing for bankruptcy protection in the fall of 2019 recorded a staggering $244 million in total debt at the company, leaving it forced to shutter a total of 183 of its outlets across Canada, Puerto Rico and the United States.
The planned closure of Walgreens stores across the U.S. is likely to prove a bitter pill to swallow for thousands of employees. Yes, in the summer of 2019 the second-biggest chain of pharmacies in the U.S. revealed that it would be axing approximately 200 stores. Among the outlets to have closed thus far are three in San Francisco.
36. CVS Pharmacy
Also taking a hit is the company that pips Walgreens to the post as the largest pharmacy chain in the United States. Throughout 2020, CVS is on course to shut around 22 of its outlets, in fact. Yet that’s only half the number that were closed in 2019 – and a mere fraction of the more than 9,900 stores still operational.
Launched in 1983, fashion and underwear retailer Chico’s rather unusually takes its name from a pet parrot. However, after more than three decades, the company – which serves women over the age of 30 with clothes and accessories – announced that it is moving away from brick-and-mortar stores. As a result, 250 outlets across the U.S. are expected to close their doors by the beginning of 2022.
34. Office Depot
And it’s not just the fashion industry suffering at the moment, as Office Depot has also said that it plans to ax 90 of its U.S. branches by 2021. Apparently, the retailer plans to focus its attention on business-to-business services instead.
33. Lucky’s Market
Yet another casualty in the cutthroat world of supermarket stores is Lucky’s Market – a natural and organic grocery chain established in Colorado in 2003. The retailer is to shut down 32 of its branches, according to a January 2020 article by the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Sadly, this means that around 2,500 employees will lose their jobs.
32. Pier 1 Imports
In January 2020 home goods retailer Pier 1 Imports revealed that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Apparently, the chain also aims to close up to 450 of its 936 U.S. branches along with all of its stores in Canada. Then, in April of that year, Bloomberg reported that potential buyer CSC Generation had proposed closing 90 percent of the company’s stores in return for acquiring its assets. According to The New York Times, stock shares in the firm had plummeted by more than 99 percent between May 2013 and February 2020.
31. A.C. Moore
Sadly, arts and crafts chain A.C. Moore has also called time on all of its approximately 145 stores across the country. It’s an unfortunate development for a brand that’s grown from humble origins, having been established by one man – Jack Parker – in New Jersey in 1985. Yet there’s a small silver lining: around 40 of the stores will reportedly be taken over by fellow craft retailer Michaels.
Once upon a time, Sears was the largest department store chain in the United States. Those halcyon days seem far away, though, as the retailer is now in big trouble, with 51 branches readying to have their tills closed forever. It’s all part of “pruning operations” by the chain’s parent company Transform Holdco, which also owns Kmart. The 2020 pandemic also meant that all Sears stores remained temporarily closed through April.
Unfortunately for Transform Holdco, Kmart is similarly closing a number of stores in 2020. That includes the famous outlet on West 34th Street in Manhattan, which was described by erstwhile Kmart chairman Joe Antonini as “a true ‘Miracle on 34th Street’” upon its opening in 1995.
Another American institution taking a hit from the collapse of the retail sector is Bloomingdale’s. The iconic firm shut down its Miami outpost – one of only 35 full-line stores across the United States – in January 2020. And that location had weathered plenty over the years, too, including a category five hurricane in 1992.
Yet another department store to be affected by the decline of mall shopping is Macy’s. In February 2020 the retailer stated that it plans to shut down 125 of its stores – or around a fifth of its current fleet – over the next three years.
It’s a challenge staying relevant in the cutthroat world of fashion, where social media success can translate into millions of dollars worth of sales. And unfortunately for Express – which has just one million Instagram followers to Zara’s 40 million – keeping the brand afloat may be an uphill struggle. In any case, the chain revealed in January 2020 that it plans to cut 100 of its stores within two years.
Before the turn of the decade, JCPenney operated around 850 stores in Puerto Rico and the United States. This may have been a few outlets too many, however, as the clothes and home goods giant is to say goodbye to a dozen of its locations in 2020. In April 2020 The Wall Street Journal also reported that the company is considering a Chapter 11 bankruptcy loan of up to $1 billion to keep the business afloat.
24. Art Van Furniture
The seemingly unstoppable rise of online shopping was one reason why the death knell sounded for Midwestern chain Art Van Furniture. That’s according to the company’s bankruptcy filing, which cited competition from online stores Wayfair and Amazon as among its most enduring problems. And, sadly, this means that all of Art Van Furniture’s approximately 200 stores are to go in 2020.
With consumers now predominately sending messages online, Papyrus has found itself in trouble. And as the stationery chain’s parent company, Tennessee-based Schurman Fine Papers, filed for bankruptcy in January 2020, it announced the closure of its 254 Papyrus, American Greetings and Carlton Card stores. Branded cards will still be available to buy from other vendors, however.
In January 2020 Gap announced that 230 locations across the U.S. would be closing by the following February. Apparently, poor showings over the 2018 holiday period provoked the decision to ax around half of the clothing giant’s stores within three years. The retailer added that it would instead focus on growing the store count of some of its other brands, including Athleta and Old Navy.
Even off-price and discounted products can’t guarantee retail success in today’s precarious marketplace, as Midwestern department chain Gordmans has learned. Parent company Stage Stores has opted to shut down 200 outlets that are either already trading as Gordmans or were due to be converted. Bad sales and tight finances are said to be among the reasons for the closures.
20. Christopher & Banks
It seems that the so-called “gray dollar” hasn’t been enough to keep Christopher & Banks in rude financial health. Shares in the brand plummeted so greatly, in fact, that it was removed from the New York Stock Exchange. The fashion retailer therefore plans to close up to 40 stores before the end of 2020.
19. New York & Company
With a little help from celebrity endorsements by Brooke Shields and Eva Mendes, New York & Company has made it through over 100 years of trading. But against a backdrop of increasing online shopping, the purveyor of women’s fashion had closed 27 of its branches by February 2020 in an attempt to weather the so-called “retail apocalypse.”
18. Lord & Taylor
Founded in 1826, Lord & Taylor is the oldest department store in the United States. Sadly for two of the retailer’s establishments, though, their impeccable heritage couldn’t ensure their continued operation. Both the Lord & Taylor at the Palisades Center in New York’s suburbs and the branch at Tyson’s Corner Center in Virginia were shuttered in early 2020.
As of January 2020, Walmart was operating 11,503 stores and clubs in 27 countries worldwide. But even the gargantuan corporation has felt the pinch, and this has led those at the top to earmark three U.S. outlets for closure. The affected locations are in North Carolina and the university town of Ypsilanti in Michigan.
16. J. Crew
Michelle Obama may be a famous fan of J. Crew, but the former first lady’s stamp of approval hasn’t stopped the clothing retailer from amassing $1.4 billion worth of debt. This dismal financial situation is unlikely to be helped, either, by the temporary closure of the company’s stores in the midst of the 2020 pandemic.
If you’re reading this on an Apple device, you ought to know that the tech giant has closed all of its international retail stores apart from those located in Greater China. The Apple shops began to temporarily shut in March 2020 and are not expected to resume business until at least the beginning of May.
In March 2020 Nike temporarily shut down all of its stores across Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe, Canada, and the U.S. Even so, employees will be compensated for lost shifts, as a company spokesperson stated to CNBC that month.
The French beauty brand Sephora – which famously pioneered the “try before you buy” approach to cosmetics retail – announced that it would temporarily close all of its North American stores from March 2020. At the time of writing, a reopening date of early April had also been pushed back.
12. Victoria’s Secret
Victoria’s Secret ended its controversial fashion show in 2019, and now it’s put a temporary halt to trading in its brick-and-mortar stores. In a statement released via its website in March 2020, the brand announced that it would be shutting for an indeterminate period in the U.S. and Canada. A month previously, there had also been confirmation that Victoria’s Secret had permanently closed eight outlets north of the border.
11. Lush Cosmetics
In March 2020, the pandemic led soap and body wash firm Lush Cosmetics to announce the temporary closure of its 258 shops in Canada and the U.S. However, late the following month, the company said that it had begun reopening its shops in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
10. Abercrombie & Fitch
Not long ago, a visit to an Abercrombie & Fitch was an experience in itself – think topless employees, an overwhelming stench of its signature fragrances and loud music. In spring 2020, though, such an adventure became out of reach when the brand temporarily closed all of its branches – aside from those in the Asia-Pacific region. This remains the case at the time of writing.
9. Disney Store
If you want to get your fix of all things Disney, you’ll have to content yourself with the company’s streaming platform. That’s because the House of Mouse’s retail stores shut their doors in March 2020, and at present it’s unclear when they will reopen. Disney’s theme parks across Europe and America have also closed temporarily.
Yoga and athletic apparel brand Lululemon is also among the plethora of companies to shut their bricks-and-mortar stores for the time being. Outlets across Europe and North America are all currently unavailable, although online “sweat sessions” are being offered to customers in lieu of their usual workouts.
Outdoor pursuits and apparel brand L.L.Bean has similarly closed the doors of its stores across Canada and the United States in reaction to international events. Like some of the other companies mentioned here, though, the firm is still processing orders online.
6. The Body Shop
All-natural and cruelty-free beauty brand The Body Shop is another business to have been affected by the 2020 pandemic. The company – which has operations in over 65 countries – ceased trading in its brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. and Europe in March 2020.
5. Ralph Lauren
Consistently one of the big players in the fashion world, Ralph Lauren is among the many brands that have suspended sales in their retail stores. CEO Patrice Louvet has said that the company will closely monitor the situation and act on expert advice to decide when it will reopen its outlets.
Older heritage brands aren’t the only ones to shut up shop in 2020, however. Glossier – launched in 2014 and loved by millennials – has also called a halt to trading in its U.S. stores. The beauty brand was one of the first to close the doors during the pandemic, in fact.
3. Calvin Klein
You’ll have to go online if you want to nab some of Calvin Klein’s signature branded smalls just now. Yes, in March 2020 the fashion and underwear retailer temporarily closed its stores across Europe and North America. That said, the company’s woes extend further back; in 2019 customers bid adieu to the flagship Calvin Klein store on Madison Avenue.
2. Urban Outfitters
In March 2020 fashion retailer Urban Outfitters joined numerous other companies and shuttered all of its stores across the United States “until further notice.” The retail outlets of sister brands Anthropologie and Free People – both of which also belong to parent company URBN – similarly remain closed at the time of writing.
1. New Balance
New Balance, like its competitors, temporarily closed its stores in North America and Western Europe in March 2020. The sneaker seller went even further, though, by also shutting down its factories and company offices, and at the time of writing it is unclear when they’ll be opening again.