Some of the United States’ most prominent retailers are shuttering stores or declaring bankruptcy in recent months 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.
FOX Business breaks down which prominent retailers have closed stores or filed for bankruptcy in recent months.
Abercrombie & Fitch
The chain has closed hundreds of store locations over the last few years while placing an increased emphasis on online sales and smaller retail formats. In May, Abercrombie & Fitch said it would close three flagship store locations, including one in New York, and redesign 85 others.
The New Jersey-based women’s footwear company filed for bankruptcy in 2017 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.
A fashion brand known for its edgy offerings, American Apparel shuttered all of its 110 U.S. locations in 2017 after filing for bankruptcy. The brand has since been acquired by Canada-based Gildan Activewear, which bought its intellectual property in an $88 million deal.
The Los Angeles-based brand listed liabilities of more than $500 million when it filed for bankruptcy in February 2017. The chain closed 118 store locations nationwide that year, though more than 300 remained in operation under a company-wide reorganization.
Bon-Ton Stores Inc.
The struggling department store filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to court papers filed in February. The chain, which operates 256 stores in 23 states, also announced it planned to close 42 stores in 2018 as part of a restructuring plan.
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.
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.
Dressbarn said it would close all of its approximately 650 store locations in the coming weeks, acknowledging that the chain "has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today's retail environment."
The discount retail chain said it would close as many as 390 of its Family Dollar stores around the country and convert roughly 200 others to Dollar Tree locations. The Family Dollar brand has struggled since it was acquired for roughly $9 billion in 2015.
The discount retail chain said it plans to close an additional 104 stores by the end of June citing the move is a necessary step to restructuring.
After reporting fourth-quarter earnings that were far better than expected, the sports retailer said it would close 165 stores in 2019 and invest to upgrade its remaining locations in a bid to boost margins and improve customer experience.
Retailer Forever 21 became the latest retailer to file for bankruptcy protection. The seller of women’s, men’s and kids clothing and accessories made the announcement September 29. As part of its restructuring strategy, the Company plans to exit most of its international locations in Asia and Europe but will continue operations in Mexico and Latin America., according to a company statement.
According to a court filing, Forever 21 has listed assets and liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion. “This was an important and necessary step to secure the future of our Company, which will enable us to reorganize our business and reposition Forever 21,” said Linda Chang, Executive Vice President of Forever 21, Inc."
The Company also announced that its Canadian subsidiary filed for and was granted protection through the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto.
The clothing retailer said it would spin off its more successful Old Navy brand into its own company while closing about 230 Gap stores around the world, or roughly 50 percent. Gap Board Chairman Robert Fisher said the decision was made because "each company now requires a different strategy to thrive moving forward."
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.
The children's clothing retailer was expected to file for bankruptcy for the second time in two years, The Wall Street Journal reported this week. The company will shutter 900 stores and seek a potential sale of its other brands.
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.
The department store chain closed 138 stores in 2017 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. J.C. Penney plans to close 24 more stores in 2019.
After a brutal holiday season in 2016, the clothing chain closed all 250 of its physical stores in January 2017 as part of a bid to focus on ecommerce. The closures reportedly resulted in the loss of about 4,000 jobs.
The major retailer said in January 2018 that it would shutter an additional seven stores that were previously undisclosed and lay off some 5,000 workers as part of an ongoing effort to streamline its business and adjust to a difficult sales environment.
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.
The discount shoe retailer will file for bankruptcy for the second time in two years later this month and close all of its approximately 2,300 stores in the U.S., Reuters reported, citing sources with knowledge of the situation. The company previously filed for bankruptcy in April 2017.
The once-prominent electronics outlet shut down more than 1,000 store locations in 2017. The brand now operates just 70 stores nationwide, down from a peak of several thousand.
Sears Holdings is one of the most prominent traditional retailers to suffer in a challenged sales environment. The brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 15, 2018, and said it would close more than 140 of its 700 remaining stores as part of its bid to restructure its debt. The company is set to hold an auction in January to determine whether it will be sold to its former CEO, Eddie Lampert, or liquidate its remaining stores.
The parent company of Kay Jewelers and Zales said it would close more than 150 stores locations in fiscal 2020 amid declining store traffic. Signet also closed 262 stores in fiscal 2019 as it looks to re-focus its business on e-commerce.
The Wisconsin-based retailer cited a sizable debt load and "competitive pressures" in its decision to file for bankruptcy. The chain will close 38 stores and sell off its pharmacy business as part of a restructuring plan.
The British retailer will close all 11 of its U.S. stores after its parent company, Arcadia Group, filed for bankruptcy.
Toys R Us
The venerable toy outlet filed for bankruptcy in September 2017 amid mounting debt and pressure from wary suppliers and was forced to liquidate its remaining stores and inventories in 2018. The company is currently out of business, though rumors of a comeback persist.
Parent company L Brands announced in late February that it would shutter 53 Victoria's Secret store locations amid sagging sales, after closing 30 stores in 2018. The venerable brand is contending with shifting fashion tastes as rivals embrace inclusive and comfortable styles.
The teen fashion brand shuttered its 171 stores in 2017 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.