So, the term “retailocalypse” might have been a bit hyperbolic — stores still exist or whatever – but, according to recent piece from WWD, the retail industry is still in the midst of some serious uncertainty, and 2019 could be the worst year yet in regards to store closures and bankruptcies.
“It’s very likely we’re going to see record store closures in 2019… and record bankruptcies,” one analyst said, blaming the “brick-and-mortar bloodbath” on disproportionate investments in online operations and an increasing debt load carried by troubled retailers.
“Bloodbath,” by the way, seems apt: over a 24-hour period earlier this month, “more than 300 planned store closures were revealed” by a list of mall fixtures, including Gap (238 stores), Victoria’s Secret (53) and J.C. Penney (28).
Those closures were announced on top of Foot Locker’s anticipated 165-door downsizing and a massive 390-door pinch from Dollar Tree Inc. Also, Chico’s FAS — which owns Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma — announced plans to close 250 stores over the next three years, presumably creating a market vacuum for cowl neck sweaters.
Even Abercrombie, who, “turned in a mostly positive fourth-quarter earnings report,” announced that they’d be closing 40 stores this year, though they did say they plan to open “that many or more new locations.”
“Before last week’s casualties, U.S. retailers had already announced 4,309 store closures” in 2019, and “just 1,586 store openings,” the story said, noting that “during the whole of 2018, major retailers closed 5,524 stores in the U.S. and opened 3,083 stores.”
You can read more at WWD.