U.S. Retailers Closed 9,300 Stores in 2019, 35% Higher Than 2018

Coresight Research reported a total of 9,275 U.S. store closures by major retailers in 2019, 35% higher than the 6,897 closures recorded in 2018 as the bleeding continues. Closings outpaced store openings more than 2 to 1, Coresight found, with 4,454 new doors in 2019, compared to 4,311 in 2018.

By late April 2019, announced store closures had already exceeded the total for all of 2018, Coresight found.

The 2019 total dropped a bit in December as Coresight revised its estimated closure count for Signet Jewelers from 159 to 132 stores.

Payless ShoeSource experienced the most pain in 2019 with plans to shutter 2,100 locations, followed by Ascena Retail (781), Gymboree (749), Fred’s (564), Charlotte Russe (512), Shopko (371), Family Dollar (359) and GNC (332).

Others on the list included Walgreens (174 closings), Gap (154), Rent-A-Center (125), Foot Locker (108), GameStop (106), Chico’s (74), Ace Hardware (61), Pier 1 Imports (58), Party City (55), Bed Bath & Beyond (54) CVS (46) Victoria’s Secrets (42), and Abercrombie & Fitch (40).

Discount stores in general have been performing well, and this is reflected in Coresight’s findings. Dollar General led 2019 store openings at 975, followed by Dollar Tree with 348. Yahoo Finance, reporting on Dollar General’s plans, cited strong increases in same-store sales, including 4.6% in Q3 2019, after 4% in Q2 and 3.8% in Q1.

A careful read of the Coresight report indicates a complex narrative behind some of the store closures numbers. Gap, for example, while announcing 154 planned store closures in 2019, also announced 115 planned openings. Similarly, CVS Health, announced 100 planned openings, and Ace Hardware balanced 113 planned openings against its 61 closures.

Several high-profile likely closures were not included in Coresight’s totals because it could not ascertain details or timing.

Coresight said Nicole Crafts has decided to close 145 A. C. Moore stores, though specific locations and timing had not been announced. “Forever 21 may close 111 stores but the number could change, according to Bloomberg,” Coresight said. “These are not included in the chart as the plan has not been confirmed. In September 2019, the retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and requested approval to shut 178 US stores.”

Also not in the totals are plans by Capri to open more than 100 Versace stores over the next two years, as well as Rebag’s plans for 30 new stores.

Coresight’s figures represent store openings and closures that occurred or are expected to occur in respective calendar years. For some retailers, Coresight said store opening and closure numbers are estimated, including from partial year data, global figures or announced closure/opening programs that span multiple years. Coresight updates estimates as companies announce details. Figures for openings and closings are gross numbers.

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