2018 saw Toys R Us, Wet Seal and The Limited close all their retail locations, while Kmart, Walgreens, Best Buy, Foot Locker and more each closed hundreds of stores.
That trend continues in 2019, and at an even faster clip, according to “The New York Times.”
In April, American retailers have already announced the planned closings of 5,994 stores, more than the 5,854 stores that closed in total in 2018.
Plagued by bankruptcy
While the bankruptcies of Toys R Us and Sears topped headlines in 2018, Payless Shoes, Gymboree and Charlotte Russe have each declared bankruptcy in 2019.
Payless plans to close all 2,500 of its North American stores and shutter its online retail presences. Charlotte Russe closed all of its stores in March, but has announced that it will return to online retail and reopen 100 U.S. locations with restructuring.
The internet era has changed people’s shopping habits, and brick-and-mortar locations are struggling to keep their heads above water.
Once mall staples, stores like The Gap and Victoria’s Secret are closing locations as leases expire, refocusing efforts toward online ventures.
There are plans for at least 2,641 new store openings in 2019, but many of them are discount retailers that are less susceptible to online competition.
Liquidation to pay creditors
Bankruptcy isn’t new for Payless. The discount shoe chain first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2017, claiming $435 million in debt. It filed for Chapter 11 again in February 2019, this time citing $470 million in debt.
Though Payless plans to stay open in Latin America and elsewhere, inventory from its stores in North America is being liquidated, with the proceeds going to its creditors. Payless plans to cease operations completely by June.