Image: adapted from iStock / tupungato
Shopping in malls and physical locations are becoming less and less common. The fact is, online shopping is more convenient, often cheaper, and boasts a selection no bricks and mortar store can compare to. With competition like Amazon Prime, NewEgg, and other easy to access options, standing stores aren't getting the customers or the income they once were. Even industry giants like Kohl's are planning to close stores in 2019 after what was a disappointing 2018 holiday season.
Like Toys 'R Us, stores on this list are either in danger of or have already made the decision to close their doors for good. Some are simply choosing to move away from malls and shopping centers and put the bulk of their business in online retail. While this may seem sad, keep in mind that the shuttering of physical stores is partly because small businesses and designers can now reach consumers directly. People can list their garage and basement manufactured clothes on Amazon, sell on eBay, and take advantage of niche sites like Etsy. The focus has shifted to shopping locally, sustainably, and putting money in the pockets of small businesses over massive corporations.
Image: Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com
In February, Payless announced that each of it's over 2,000 stores in the United States would be permanently closing. Some locations will have their final day in March of 2019 while most others will remain open and busy with liquidations sales until May. Even its online store will close for American shoppers. However, the brand won't be erased completely. It's international stores are slated to remain open, for now. Payless made several attempts to save itself, first declaring bankruptcy and closing some stores over a decade ago. They increased BOGO offers and restructured the company. Apparently, their efforts were only a short term fix.
Image: Alex Pesantes / Shutterstock.com
The teen and young adult clothing store where you could get cheap heels and badly made but super cute crop tops is closing all stores in 2019. This "first job" mall staple store has over 500 locations currently in the throes of liquidations sales. Grit Daily says that, "The closing of Charlotte Russe means the loss of nearly 8,700 jobs, and only 1,400 of those were part-time." Yikes! This aspect of store closures is probably the most regrettable since online retailers aren't as good as physical locations at offering competitive salaried positions. The stores are expected to close before the summer of 2019.
Image: Ritu Manoj Jethani / Shutterstock.com
This store, with its signature flagship location in New York and appearances in Sex and the City, closed in January of 2019. It's been assumed that the designer bags will now become collectors items, so if you have one hold on to it (or at least make sure when these seven essentials are in it, they're clean). The worth of those products may skyrocket in the coming years. Where will poor Blake Lively get her fix now? The actress has been a vocal admirer of the Bendel brand for years. At least she has the resources to stock up now that the brand is defunct.
Image: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com
K-mart was once considered one third of the "big three" with competitors Wal-Mart and Target. Now, K-mart is becoming a less and less regular sight. Last year, the retail chain closed 150 of its locations. In 2019, it's slated to close another 50. K-mart is owned by Sears, another struggling company and one that has filed bankruptcy for itself. Not only does this mean the company probably doesn't have the money to pour back into making K-mart solvent, but K-mart faces a growing and often unconsidered competitor. Dollar Stores. Businesses such as Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are in the green while other higher priced stores are suffering.
Image: Helen89 / Shutterstock.com
"I like girls who wear Abercrombie and Fitch..." except those girls are going to have a harder time buying those clothes at physical stores. Why? Abercrombie has announced its decision to close 40 stores in the next year, adding to the already extensive list of just under 500 stores it's already shut down. However, Abercrombie isn't necessarily going the same way as Payless. The chain is investing in newly restructured stores that are more cost-efficient and online sales. These stores tend to be smaller, with less of a mall footprint, and a more open plan. Abercrombie also promoted its new designer, Aaron Levine, who hopes to return the company to its adventurous beginnings.
Image: Arne Beruldsen / Shutterstock.com
The children's clothing store, which also owns the Crazy 8 chain, is officially closing its doors after filing for bankruptcy for a second time. All their products will be liquidated, so get out there and get your kids' essentials now. Gymboree also has the Janie and Jack brand under the same company, a high-end brand that the corporation is trying to save by selling to interested buyers. The Gymboree brand had been in retail operations since the mid-1980's, when the mall culture was exploding. Like many other stores, Gymboree suffered from a lack of foot traffic in malls and shopping centers around the country in recent years.
Image: Jeff Bukowski / Shutterstock.com
Money.com described ShopKo as, "the department store of rural America." It won't be for much longer, though. The chain of over 300 stores that combined retail sales and healthcare services like walk-in clinics and eye care centers is going belly up in 2019. The store will sell off its pharmacy and optical equipment and liquidate all clothing and household items. Like many stores on this list, ShopKo couldn't compete with direct to home online sales. Shopko was a retailer of Payless shoes, another member of this list that will shut their doors for the last time in 2019. At closing, the store will be leaving all 24 states it had locations in.
Image: View Apart / Shutterstock.com
The lingerie store has announced that in 2019 it will close more than 50 stores nationwide. Why? There's a trend in underwear sales right now away from the barely-there to comfort and inclusivity (think of the explosion of Savage X and ThirdLove). Also, the brand has recently been plagued by controversy. After the 2018 Victoria Secret fashion show, the company's chief marketing officer said that the show had no plans to incorporate plus size or trans models since they don't represent the brand's idea of "fantasy." Because those people don't wear underwear? Also, Victoria Secret tried to roll out a marketing campaign called "Perfect Body." Since all the women were model sized (six feet tall and under 130 lbs) in the campaign, the stores came under fire for promoting an unrealistic ideal.
Image: Nadezda Murmakova / Shutterstock.com
Tesla Motors, the company famously spearheaded by Elon Musk, has announced that it will move the totality of its sales to the web. All Tesla showrooms will be closing eventually, although currently the staff has been told they will remain on the payroll. The first closings began on March 3rd, 2019 and more will come as the year progresses. For now, any scheduled test drives are either being conducted at the expected stores or rescheduled to others, not in the process of closing up yet. The probably doesn't spell the end for Tesla, though. Just last year the brand was named the top plug-in electric car brand internationally.
Image: TY Lim / Shutterstock.com
Gap has not only made the decision to close 50 of its stores, but the company has also announced that it will be splitting in two, separating its other brands from Old Navy. Old Navy is the newer of the brands, hitting the scene in the mid '90s vs. Gap's late 60's appearance. Banana Republic is also owned by the same company and will move with Gap into the separation with Old Navy. The main area Gap is focusing on is stores in shopping malls which are suffering from fewer sales and less basic traffic. The company said that, at the remaining stores, it would look into customer experience and bringing that into modern expectations.
Image: Susan Montgomery / Shutterstock.com
In 2017, Chico's closed just under 50 stores. In 2019, that number is going to inflate by 250 more. The company's CEO said the brand will look to increase "flexibility" by moving more sales online. Chico's also has stores in Canada and Mexico, though it's unclear if any of those are on the list of expected closures. The store, which caters to a more mature clientele than its other arm White House, Black Market, made Forbes' 'Retailers On Life Support' list in 2018. While being named by Forbes is often an awesome thing, this is one list we're sure the brand would have like to avoid.
Image: testing / Shutterstock.com
The Guess brand has been suffering for a while. In the past two years, Guess has closed hundreds of stores across the US. Interestingly, while you may be losing your local Guess, overseas growth for the company is continuing. What was Guess' peak foray into American relevance? Obviously, it came when they designed Marty McFly's jeans in Back To The Future. This isn't the brand's first issue making money in the States, however. Back in the 90s the brand was embroiled in a sweatshop scandal that included allegations that it was behind 80 overseas manufacturing sites that broke just about every labor law in the books.
Image: hydra viridis / Shutterstock.com
Despite their legacy of sexy ads (something a ton of store on this list share, weird, right?), Calvin Klein has seen years of decreasing sales. Therefore, the brand is going bunk. Calvin Klein is no longer going to exist. The brand says it will be embracing a new name as well as new sales strategies. The flagship New York store will be closing in Spring 2019. This was the last year that Calvin Klein would show at a New York fashion week as well. Even celebrities wearing Calvin Klein on the red carpet, names like Lady Gaga and Lupita Nyong'o, weren't able to save the high-end brand.
Image: Chrispictures / Shutterstock.com
More Michael Kors stores will be closing in 2019. Its namesake said, "A man in a well-tailored suit will always shine brighter than a guy in an off-the-rack suit." While we understand the sentiment, like many high-end brands, Michael Kors is struggling to be relevant to average buyers. The company has partnered with Amazon to sell its watches, signaling that the move to more concentrated online sales may be coming. Michael Kors stock has dipped dramatically in the past years, and Wall Street gurus have predicted ongoing losses. Other top-of-the-line handbag retailers have reported similar trends.
Image: Dee Dalasio / Shutterstock.com
The jewelry juggernaut is planning to close hundreds of stores, most of them in malls. While it initially seemed like jewelry sales saw a surge during the last holiday season, Zales didn't get the slice of the pie they'd hope to. Even Disney's Enchanted collection couldn't save the stores, and Disney's touch is gold in nearly all industries. Zales is owned by Signet, who also have Jared's brand. Jared's did even worse, so things are definitely not looking up for the company. Kay Jewelers is another arm of Signet, and many of the stores that are going to be closed have sister stores either in the same mall or very close by. Therefore, the company is hoping that sales move toward those locations so that money isn't lost, but square footage is.
Image: Goran Bogicevic / Shutterstock.com
Ann Taylor Loft and Lane Bryant are owned by the same parent company. The career focused retailer started closing stores in 2017 and will close more in 2019. Their goal is to get to 660+ closures. Ann Taylor Loft has attempted to reboot its image with social media, including an Instagram hashtag of #loveloft. Ann Taylor Loft has locations in 46 states and a large number of outlets. Some of these stores offer maternity clothing, which we know can be both specialized and expensive. If your local Loft is closing, and you're in need of these pieces, grab up the deals while you can.
Image: iStock / weetBabeeJay
For fans of Kohl's, the worry isn't as big for this giant store as it is for so many. According to reports, yes, some Kohl's stores are closing, but definitely not as much as other stores. Slated to close this year for Kohl's is four stores which totally sound too bad considering there are approximately 1,158 stores across the United States. Business spokespeople also say that even with the four stores closing in 2019, things will all balance out. It's reported that also in the plans for Kohl's this year is the opening of four new stores, with the only difference being the location of the new stores and that they will be slightly smaller than the stores being shut down.
Image: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com
The Children's Place is one of those stores that are like dreamland for kids because their clothes are so cute. And for parent, too, because the clothes are comfortable and relatively affordable. The store is feeling the hit of online sites and the down spiral of mall culture. The retailer has been trying to close down 300 stores by 2020 over the past few years and they're targeting to close around 40-45 stores in 2019, with the remaining 45 being scheduled to close next year.
Image: iStock / bensib
Starbucks are all over the place and nearly on every corner in some places. But the signs of the times are showing because even this well-loved coffee shop is feeling the heat. According to news reports, over 150 stores are set to close down this year. It's not unusual for the company to shut down about 50 of these stores each year, so having it be three times that amount is a lot. The company is going to be looking into the weaker stores, who aren't making as much money, and those are likely to be ones to shut down.
Image: iStock / jetcityimage
The whole Sears thing closing is not a surprise. We've heard that they were going down for a while and many of them have closed, but more are on tap for this year. News is reporting that 72 Sears stores are closing down this year, with a lot of the remaining being bought out by ESL Investments bought out the company in hopes of saving the brand, and K-Marts, too. If there is any sign of the times changing and mall culture being a thing of the past, it's these massive buildings coming down. It's a strange world, and Sears is no longer part of it, apparently.
Image: Rosemarie Mosteller / Shutterstock.com
Bad news came in May 2019 for people who love and work at Dressbarn. News sources say the company, owned by Ascena Retail Group, has announced major closures of their stores. NBC reports 650 Dressbarn stores will close their doors for business, though not immediately. NBC writes, " customers will be able to continue to shop from Dressbarn stores and online, as the closures won’t take place immediately. It hasn’t outlined an exact timeline for the winding-down process of the business."
Image: CS Robinson / Shutterstock.com
Discount chain Fred's announced in May that they are closing doors to most, if not all, of their stores. USA Today reports the company is closing 104 of their "underperforming" stores in an "ongoing effort to rationalize its store footprint." All the stores impacted by the closures are expected to be fully closed by the end of June. Stores with locations in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and Tennessee will be closing the doors to most of the Fred's chain.
Image: Supannee_Hickman / Shutterstock.com
J.C. Penney is closing 18 department stores and nine home and furniture shops in 2019. It was first estimated that the brand would close 100 stores in the year, but reports are showing a much smaller number. NBC reports, " retailer is still operating more than 800 locations across the country, and that’s likely too many, as fewer shoppers head to antiquated malls to shop." The management at the company did reveal that more store closures could happen in 2020 so don't hold your breath too much.
It's not all bad news for businesses though because several are still going strong and have announced they are opening more stores in the next few years. Aldi announced plans open more than 130 stores this year and on top of that they're also committed to remodel 235 stores. By the end of 2019, the chain estimates they will be operating around 2,000 stores in the US. The bargain food market is a family friendly store thanks to it being so affordable, and that's likely a reason it's holding strong.
Image: digitalreflections / Shutterstock.com
Dollar Tree is another family loved company because hello, dollar prices! The brand revealed plans to open up 350 more Dollar Tree stores in the year. On top of that they also plan to convert 200 Family Dollar stores into Dollar Tree stores likely because that brand is so well-loved and it seems to be holding strong. Of course, that means not the best news for Family Dollar stores, which are closing some Dollar Tree stores -- an estimated 390 -- and converting more to Dollar Tree brand.
Image: George Sheldon / Shutterstock.com
Everyone loves a good bargain and parents are often seeking them out when it comes to food and stuff. Their slogan "get good stuff cheap" is likely the reason they're reportedly doing so well and opening new stores this year, instead of going the downward trend like so many other brands. They know their customer-base and given they've never really invested in mall-location properties, they're not feeling the stress of that down trend.
Another discount retailer that is feeling good vibes for 2019 is Five Below. The brand has announced plans to open more stores this year, a reported 150 new locations. Doing this will bring their total number of stores in the US to around 900, which is a great number and the company projects good things for 2019. Five Below is playing their cards right and looking to keep hold of the strong consumer demand for low-priced merchandise.
We've heard it said before that even in the most stressful money times, makeup will always sell and that seems to be holding true for beauty brand Ulta. Despite so many stores announcing closures and bankruptcies, Ulta is planning to continue their growth. It's been reported that the beauty brand store is planning to open 80 new locations this year thanks to continued growth. The store has continued the trend to open new stores each year and now holds a reported 1,100 store locations across the US.