Last week, women's clothing retailer The Limited announced it was closing down all of its stores. It's yet another casualty in the war on shopping malls and highlights the further transition of clothing retail to "fast fashion" and online formatting. It has been an ominous year for brick-and-mortar stores, but another one down could be good news for the survivors.
Continue Reading Below
Image source: The Limited.
Traditional retail casualties
L Brands (NYSE: LB), owner of brands likeVictoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works, spun off its last stake in The Limited to private equity company Sun Capital in 2010. Once a thriving fixture of the shopping mall experience, the beleaguered company is throwing in the towel and is now in process of closing down its remaining 250 locations.
Sun Capital said it will be taking a loss on the remaining equity has in the business, but said in a statement to shareholders it still made money on the purchase through dividend distributions taken since the first stake was taken in 2007.
The Limited isn't the only traditional retailer to suffer losses. In the last year, there have been several high-profile closures and bankruptcies. Take a moment to remember the brick-and-mortar retailers we lost in 2016. Here's a select list:
A flicker of hope for survivors
Retail has been under attack from online competition as a new generation of shoppers opt for convenience. Fast-fashion retailers like H&M and Urban Outfitters, companies that quickly and cheaply imitate current runway fashion trends, have also hurt old shopping mall mainstays.
However, the ongoing closures could help remaining shopping mall businesses like The Gap (NYSE: GPS)and American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO). Neither company has been immune to the changing times and both have closed down stores of their own. However, some of these clothiers -- American Eagle, in particular -- have managed to hang on to old clientele and expand into new markets.
Choices for clothing shoppers are slimming down, and while the way consumers go about equipping their wardrobes may be evolving, the need for clothing obviously isn't going anywhere. Having one less fixture in the mall to compete against could go a long way to help the efforts of the businesses that remain.
Image source: The Limited.
Consider what the trend means
Some traditional format stores like The Limited haven't been able to hang, but by and large the wave of store closings have been from still-viable merchandisers right-sizing operations for the new digital age. Rather than disappearing altogether, the industry is in a period of transition. As of late, convenient shopping at a discount has been the trend. Companies that can adapt and get new styles to market quickly and offer a robust online experience will be just fine.
10 stocks we like better thanWal-MartWhen investing geniuses David and TomGardner have a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter theyhave run for over a decade, the Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*
David and Tomjust revealed what they believe are theten best stocksfor investors to buy right now... and Wal-Mart wasn't one of them! That's right -- theythink these 10 stocks are even better buys.
Click hereto learn about these picks!
*StockAdvisor returns as of December 12, 2016The author(s) may have a position in any stocks mentioned.