Retail Apocalypse: 20 big retailers closing stores in 2017

By Retail FOXBusiness

Toys R' Us bankruptcy: Is this a retail apocalypse?

Toys R' Us has filed for bankruptcy right before the holiday shopping season, becoming the latest brick-and-mortar retailer to fall victim to the growth of e-commerce and discount stores. More than 300 companies have filed for bankruptcy in 2017 ... so far, here's a look at the most significant casualties.

Some of the United States’ most prominent retailers are shuttering stores this year amid sagging sales in the troubled sector.

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The rise of ecommerce outlets like Amazon has made it harder for traditional retailers to attract customers to their stores and forced companies to change their sales strategies. Many companies have turned to sales promotions and increased digital efforts to lure shoppers while shutting down brick-and-mortar locations.

Toys R Us is the latest retailer to experience difficulties amid the shifting business landscape. The venerable toy outlet filed for bankruptcy Monday night amid mounting debt and pressure from wary suppliers. For now, the company says its 1,600 store locations will remain open and operate "as usual," with no changes to organization structure or payroll. 

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A list of some of the top retailers to close stores this year can be found below.

Abercrombie & Fitch

Facing declining sales, the once-prominent fashion brand announced last March that it would close 60 of its U.S. stores with expiring leases during its 2017 fiscal year. The chain has closed hundreds of store locations over the last few years while placing an increased emphasis on online sales.

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Aerosoles

The New Jersey-based women’s footwear company filed for bankruptcy earlier this month and announced plans to move forward with a “significant reduction” of its retail locations. While it’s unclear how many of Aerosoles’ 88 locations will be affected, the chain said it plans to keep four flagship stores in New York and New Jersey operational, NJ.com reported.

American Apparel

A fashion brand known for its edgy offerings, American Apparel shuttered all of its 110 U.S. locations earlier this year after filing for bankruptcy. The brand has since been acquired by Canada-based Gildan Activewear, which acquired its intellectual property in an $88 million deal.

BCBG

The Los Angeles-based brand listed liabilities of more than $500 million when it filed for bankruptcy last February. The chain closed 118 store locations nationwide this year, though more than 300 remained in operation under a company-wide reorganization.

Bebe

The women’s apparel chain closed all of its remaining 168 stores by last May, days after it said it was exploring “strategic alternatives for the company” amid plunging sales.

The Children’s Place

A fixture at shopping malls, the children’s clothing retail said it will close hundreds of store locations by 2020 as part of a shift toward digital commerce.

CVS

The pharmacy retailer said it would close 70 store locations in 2017 as part of a bid to cut costs and streamline its business. CVS still operates thousands of stores nationwide.

Guess

Guess announced plans to close 60 of its struggling U.S. store locations in 2017 as part of a plan to refocus on international markets.

Gymboree

The kids clothing retailer confirmed last July that it would close 350  of its more than 1,200 store locations to streamline its business and achieve “greater financial flexibility,” according to CEO Daniel Griesemer.

Hhgregg

The electronics retailer said it would close all of its 220 stores and lay off thousands of employees when it failed to find a buyer after bankruptcy proceedings.

J.C. Penney

The department store chain is closing 138 stores this year while restructuring its business to meet shifting consumer tastes. The retailer also announced plans to open toy shops in all of its remaining brick-and-mortar locations.

The Limited

After a brutal holiday season in 2016, the clothing chain closed all 250 of its physical stores last January as part of a bid to focus on ecommerce. The closures reportedly resulted in the loss of about 4,000 jobs.

Macy’s

Facing declining foot traffic at its store locations, Macy’s said earlier this year that it would close 68 outlets and reduce its workforce by several thousand employees. The chain is focusing on its high-performing stores and digital platform.

Michael Kors

With same-store sales plunging, the upscale fashion retailer said it would close as many as 125 stores  to adapt to a difficult, promotional sales environment.

Payless

The discount shoe retailer filed for bankruptcy last April and has moved to close about 800 stores this year.

RadioShack

The once-prominent electronics outlet shut down more than 1,000 store locations earlier this year. The brand now operates just 70 stores nationwide, down from a peak of several thousand.

Rue21

The specialty teen clothing retailer confirmed last April that it would close up to 400 of its more than 1,100 locations and later filed for bankruptcy in May.

Sears/Kmart

Sears Holdings is one of the most prominent traditional retailers to suffer in a challenged sales environment. The brand shuttered 35 Kmart locations and eight Sears stores last July and has closed more than 300 locations this year amid pressure from ecommerce outlets, USA Today reported.

Wet Seal

The teen fashion brand shuttered its 171 stores earlier this year after previously filing for bankruptcy in 2015. Declining foot traffic at malls and pressure from competitors like Zara and H&M contributed to Wet Seal’s demise.

*Updated 9-20-17: Toys "R" Us confirms plans to keep 1,600 stores open and operational despite bankruptcy filing.

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