From city streets to strip malls, empty storefronts will likely abound post-coronavirus.
In the past few years, brick-and-mortar retail had already been dealing with the challenges of digital disruption and waning foot traffic. In recent months, retailers have had to contend with government-mandated temporary closures of their stores as well as decreased discretionary spending among consumers.
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To maintain cash flow, companies have taken a number of steps such as cutting operating expenses, furloughing workers and tapping revolving credit lines. And a growing number of retailers have also made the decision to trim their fleets, with some closing units after filing for Chapter 11 protection bankruptcy protection.
A March report from Coresight Research predicted that store closures could hit a new high in 2020 because of the coronavirus — forecasting over 15,000 gross closures this year, up from a record-high of 9,548 in 2019.
Below, FN rounds up the fashion and footwear retailers that have announced store closures — or warned of potential store closures — since the pandemic began.
After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on May 15, JCPenney revealed plans to close 242 doors, or about 29% of its 846-store fleet. The company expects to shut 192 units by February 2021, the end of the current fiscal year, with an additional 50 outposts to shut the following fiscal year.
Grappling with a hefty debt load as well as coronavirus-induced store closures, J.Crew filed for Chapter 11 protection in early May. The retailer operated 181 J. Crew stores, 140 Madewell locations and 170 factory stores at the beginning of the pandemic. It said permanent store closures are possible as part of the restructuring.
G-III Apparel Group
In early June, G-III Apparel Group announced the permanent closures of all 110 Wilsons Leather and 89 G.H. Bass stores as it restructures its retail operations segment. The liquidations of these outposts, assisted by financial services firm Hilco Global, are set to begin immediately or as soon as locations reopen.
Lord + Taylor
According to reports, Lord + Taylor is seriously considering a post-pandemic liquidation. The storied retailer was purchased by fashion rental service Le Tote in August 2019 from Saks parent Hudson’s Bay Co. It operates 38 units.
Neiman Marcus filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May after weeks of speculation. Although the company has not announced plans to permanently shut stores at this time, it said it will “continue to assess store closure decisions.”
To maintain its financial health amid the pandemic, Nordstrom is permanently closing 16 full-line department stores, which will reduce its full-line store count to 100. The Seattle-based retailer has additionally announced the shuttering of all three Jeffrey stores, located in Atlanta, New York and Palo Alto, Calif.
Stage Stores, which operates locations under the Stage as well as Gordmans, Bealls and Goody’s banners, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May amid financial struggles predating the coronavirus. The discount retailer will liquidate its 700-plus units if unable to find a buyer, it said.
On March 20, Victoria’s Secret parent company L Brands announced plans to close about 250 locations in the United States and Canada by the end of the year. The lingerie label, which operates nearly 1,100 stores across the U.S. and Canada, plans to close 235 U.S. Victoria’s Secret stores, three PINK outposts and 13 Canadian units.