U.S. retailers have already closed more stores this year than they did throughout the entirety of 2018 as traditional brick-and-mortar outlets struggled to adapt to the consumer shift toward online shopping.
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Companies have announced 5,994 store closures through this month against just 2,641 store openings, according to data from Coresight Research. By comparison, retailers closed 5,864 stores in all of 2018 and opened 3,239 stores.
Traditional retailers have been looking for ways to cut costs and direct resources on high-performing stores amid intense competition from e-commerce sites such as Amazon. Coresight Research CEO Deborah Weinswig recently told the Associated Press that a lower level of retail store closures in 2018 was an anomaly and that the trend should accelerate again in 2019.
Payless ShoeSource, Charlotte Russe, JCPenney, Signet Jewelers, Victoria’s Secret and Family Dollar are just a few retail chains set to close stores in 2019. Payless’s impending bankruptcy – its second in two years – accounted for about 2,300 of the roughly 6,000 store closure announcements.
Declining foot traffic at shopping malls has been a source of particular weakness for traditional retailers. David Simon, CEO of the United States’ largest mall operator, Simon Property Group, warned in February that his company was “concerned” about more prominent retail bankruptcies in the first half of 2019.