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Retail graveyard: More than 7,000 U.S. stores have closed this year

Retailers expected to shutter 12,000 stores
  • Last year, the U.S. lost 5,864 stores, while 3,258 opened.
  • So far this year, 7,062 have closed, while 3,017 have opened.
  • All told, the retail closures in 2019 could easily double 2018's total -- extending beyond 12,000.

If the carnage in the retail industry seemed bad last year, it pales in comparison to the damage the sector is suffering in 2019. Already above the pace 2018 set, U.S. store closing could exceed 12,000 this year.

That's according to Coresight Research, which pegs the count of retail outlets that have closed in 2019 at 7,062, versus 3,017 stores opening. Last year, 5,864 stores closed and 3,258 opened. Beyond the shuttered facades lining main streets across the country, the human toll in terms of jobs lost is another impact. Challenger, Gray & Christmas counts 53,248 announced retail job cuts through June, compared to 98,563 for all of last year.

Here's a rundown highlighting much of the damage in 2019:

  • Regional discount chain Fred's on Friday said it was pulling the plug on another 129 retail stores, leaving about 80 still standing, mostly around its distribution center in Dublin, Georgia.

  • Charming Charlie Holdings recently said it would close its remaining 261 stores after filing for bankruptcy protection for the second time in as many years. The clothing and accessories seller expects to conclude its going-out-of-business sales by the end of August.

  • Footwear-chain Payless ShoeSource in February said it would close 2,600 stores in the U.S. and Canada, all but 500 of them in the U.S. 

  • Children's clothing retailer Gymboree closed 749 stores after declaring bankruptcy in January.

  • Women's clothing chain Dressbarn in May said it was folding, a move that resulted in the closure of 661 stores.

  • Bankrupt women's apparel seller Charlotte Russe in March announced "going out of business" sales at more than 400 stores.

  • Also in March, general-merchandise retailer Shopko Stores moved to shutter what remained of its 371 stores after failing to find a buyer.

  • Discount chain Family Dollar joined the wreckage in March, saying it would close as many as 390 stores this year.

  • Vitamin seller GNC accounts for 233 store closings in 2019, according to Coresight.

  • Pharmacy-chain Walgreens has shut down 195 stores so far this year, by Coresight's count.

  • Signet Jewelers, parent company of the Kay Jewelers, Zales and Jared retail brands, in April said it would close 150 more stores after reporting falling sales.

  • Furniture and electronic goods rent-to-own retailer Rent-a-Center has shut down 125 stores this year, Coresight said.

  • After 125 years in the jewelry business, Samuels Jewelers in mid-February filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and began the process of closing all of its 120 stores.

  • Ascena Retail is behind 120 store closures, excluding Dressbarn, Coresight said. 

  • Hibbetts Sports has shuttered 87 stores in 2019, according to Coresight. 

  • Women's clothing seller Chico's in January said it will shutter at least 250 locations over the next three years. That so far has included 74 locations in 2019, according to Coresight.

  • Eddie Lampert bought once-mighty retailer Sears out of bankruptcy earlier this year, but that hasn't stopped the billionaire hedge fund manager from closing some 72 stores in 2019.

  • Office Depot has shut down 50 stores in 2019, part of a three-year plan announced in 2016 to eliminate about 300 stores.

  • The discount chain Kmart, owned by Sears, has closed about 50 stores so far this year. 

  • Pharmacy chain CVS has folded 46 stores in 2019, according to Coresight's tally.

  • Party supplier Party City in May said it was closing 45 stores, stepping up the pace of annual closures that in recent years have numbered 10 to 15 stores.

  • Cato Fashions, a more than 70-year-old retailer, has shuttered 46 stores in 2019, said Coresight.

  • Department-store chain Stage Stores in March said it would close 40 to 60 underperforming stores. 

  • Victoria's Secret in February said it would close 53 stores this year as the lingerie chain continues to lose ground to the competition, which includes startups and large retailers.

  • Pier 1 Imports in June said it could close up to an additional 57 of its more than 900 stores this fiscal year.

  • Nearly three years after buying regional arts and crafts retailer Pat Catan's for $150 million, Michaels in January said it was closing all of the acquired brand's 36 stores in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and West Virginia. 

  • Troubled apparel retailer Destination Maternity last month said it would reduce its workforce as it tries to turn around its business. According to Coresight, that has involved 28 store closures so far this year. 

  • JCPenney, the struggling 117-year-old department store chain, has closed 27 stores this year and expects to shut more of its roughly 800 stores in 2020. 

  • Kids' clothing retailer Carter's has shuttered 25 stores in 2019, by Coresight's accounting.

Retailers that have closed less than 25 stores this year include Vitamin Shoppe, William-Sonoma, J. Crew, Lowe's, Macy's, Walmart, Kohl's, Target, Build-A-Bear, Big Lots and Nordstrom.

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