By Mike Timmermann, Clark.com
You may have noticed that 2017 hasn’t been a good year for some retailers that many people know and love.
Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Sears and Kmart are just a few of the chains that have announced sweeping closures.
2017 retail closings: What you need to know
On the radio show, Clark Howard explained that the retailers on this list are closing stores because they’re not giving people what they want in terms of things like price, fashion and selection.
As a result, shoppers are increasingly turning to online and discount merchants for better deals.
The reality is that America has been over-stored. We have far too many retail locations, shopping centers and branches of different chains. But stores that are meeting your needs with low prices will continue to thrive.
In the meantime, here’s our updated list of major retailers that are closing stores in 2017:
Ascena Retail Group – At least 268 stores
Ascena Retail Group, the women’s clothing retailer that owns the brands Ann Taylor, Loft, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant, Justice and several others, is planning to close hundreds of stores.
During a recent earnings call, company executives announced that 667 stores are part of its fleet optimization program.
At least 268 of those stores will definitely be closed by July 2019. The remaining 399 stores will be shut down if rent concessions aren’t obtained through negotiations with landlords.
The company didn’t specify which locations will be closed.
Gymboree – Up to 450 stores
Gymboree, a specialty retailer that sells children’s apparel and accessories, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 11.
While business will continue as normal during the restructuring, management does expect to close an undetermined number of stores at some point.
“The majority of our stores will remain open and run just as they do today,” the company notes on a website dedicated to its restructuring. “However, we are planning to right-size our retail footprint by closing certain stores as part of the restructuring process in order to focus our resources on the locations with the greatest potential. At this point, we are still evaluating stores and cannot say with certainty which stores will close or when.”
According to USA Today, up to 450 of Gymboree’s 1,281 stores will be closed during the process.
Sears & Kmart – 66 additional stores
Sears Holdings plans to close even more under-performing Sears and Kmart locations.
In early June, USA Today reported that 66 additional stores will be shut down in addition to the 180 locations previously announced. They include 17 Sears stores and 49 Kmart stores.
Most of the affected locations will be closed in September. Here’s the full list.
In a news release dated April 21, Sears Holdings said it has made significant progress in its restructuring program, with $700 million in annualized cost savings so far.
Sears hopes to reach $1.25 billion in annualized cost savings in 2017, up from its $1 billion target.
J.C. Penney – 138 stores
J.C. Penney is delaying plans to close 138 stores because sales are up since the retailer announced that it was shutting them down.
USA Today reports that liquidation sales at those locations have been postponed until May 22 and store closures have been pushed back six weeks to July 31.
Macy’s – 68 stores
Macy’s isn’t finished shrinking its retail footprint quite yet.
The struggling department store chain confirmed in February that it plans to close about 34 stores “over the next few years” after shutting down nearly 70 locations in fiscal year 2016.
The company has not yet revealed which locations may soon be on the chopping block.
Read more: 5 big changes coming to Macy’s in 2017
Bebe Stores – 180 stores
Women’s clothing retailer Bebe Stores is shutting down all of its roughly 180 locations nationwide.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission dated April 21, the company said it expected to close all stores by the end of May after liquidation sales.
The retailer’s future remains unclear, though some speculate it will continue as an online-only merchant.
Abercrombie & Fitch – 60 stores
You can add Abercrombie & Fitch to the growing list of retailers that will be closing stores this year.
According to a news release, the company plans to shut down about 60 U.S. locations during fiscal 2017 as leases expire. Fortune reports that A&F will have 670 remaining stores, down from 839 just five years ago.
Guess – 60 stores
Guess is planning to pull the plug on 60 of its stores this year.
CEO Victor Herrero told analysts of the decision during a Q4 earnings call on March 15. It’s expected that most of the closures will be among the flagship Guess brand stores and Marciano locations.
Guess brands operate 945 retail stores in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Some 400 of those stores are in the United States.
Crocs – 160 stores
The Limited – 250 stores
After more than 50 years in business, The Limited closed all of its nearly 250 stores across the country on January 8. The retailer indicated that its website would live on, but no merchandise is for sale.
Wet Seal – 171 stores
American Apparel – 110 stores
Made in the USA clothing manufacturer American Apparel has closed its remaining 110 stores.
According to a news release from January 10, Canada-based Gildan Activewear’s $88 million bid at a bankruptcy auction won the rights to American Apparel’s brand and some assets.
However, retail store assets were not part of the purchase, according to Gildan.
BCBG – 120 stores
The Star Tribune reported in early February that liquidation sales have started and are expected to run eight to 10 weeks before the stores close for good.
The company’s mini-shops within Macy’s will remain open.
Michael Kors – 100 to 125 stores
Michael Kors is closing between 100 and 125 of its retail stores over the next two years.
According to a May 31 news release, the company is making the move to improve the profitability of its store fleet. Revenue was down in the most recent quarter.
The clothing and handbag retailer didn’t reveal a list of the stores on the chopping block.
Payless ShoeSource – 512 stores and counting…
In April, Payless ShoeSource announced that about 400 of its roughly 4,400 stores would be closing immediately. The closures took place in nearly every state across the country.
Now as part of its ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Payless has announced the closure of 112 more stores.
The discount footwear chain is also petitioning the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Missouri to allow the shuttering of another nearly 300 stores.
If approved, that would bring the total amount of stores closed to over 800.
Rue21 – 400 stores
Teen clothing retailer rue21 has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
In a May 15 news release, rue21 said it has entered into agreements with its lenders to reduce the company’s debt and provide additional capital in support of its restructuring.
In April, the retailer began the process of closing about 400 of its 1,179 stores in order to focus on its more successful locations.
A message on rue21.com read, “It’s true – we are closing some stores. It was a difficult but necessary decision. But the good news is we still have hundreds of locations across the country, and our website rue21.com, open for business!”
Rue21 said it expects to continue normal business operations during the Chapter 11 reorganization process.
RadioShack – 1,000 stores
After 96 years in business, consumer electronics retailer RadioShack will have just 70 corporate and 500 dealer stores nationwide — down from 7,300 at its peak.
Over the Memorial Day holiday, RadioShack closed more than 1,000 stores across the country.
“At the end of this month, RadioShack will be closing its doors at all but 70 retail store locations as we migrate to RadioShack.com and we cannot thank you, the RadioShack family, enough for sharing in the journey throughout the years,” the company said in a news release.
The retailer is holding a memorabilia online auction through July 3, according to RadioShack.com.
Gander Mountain – Undetermined
After filing for bankruptcy in March, outdoors retailer Gander Mountain has a new owner.
Liquidation sales are being held at all 126 stores, but Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, the new owner, says he intends to keep dozens of locations open.
A final list of stores has not been released, but Lemonis is providing updates on Twitter.
hhgregg – 220 stores
After more than six decades, electronics retailer hhgregg is going out of business.
Liquidation sales have begun at the retailer’s 132 stores, which will close by the end of May. In March, the company announced the closure of 88 locations.
The news comes after hhgregg failed to find a buyer by its April 7 deadline.
GameStop – 150+ stores
GameStop has struggled due to weak sales of certain video games and “aggressive console promotions” from its competitors.
Staples – 70 stores
Staples said in March that it will close 70 locations throughout North America by the end of 2017.
During a recent earnings call, Staples said same store sales in North America were down 7% during the fourth quarter of 2016. The drop in sales was blamed on lower foot traffic.
Read more: Staples to shutter 70 stores in 2017
CVS – 70 stores
Back in December 2016, we first told you that CVS had plans to close 70 locations across the country in early 2017.
In late February, we began to get the first reports from local media about exactly which locations already have been or will soon be shuttered, including more than 10 stores in Illinois.
Family Christian – 240 stores
Family Christian, the biggest seller of Christian books and merchandise in the nation, announced February 23 that 240 stores in 36 states would be permanently closed by May 13.
Read more: Family Christian closing all 240+ locations
Clark’s takeaway: Use those gift cards ASAP!
“If you have any gift cards in your home that are for major retailers, I want you to go and shop. I want you to use them up,” Clark said. “And when you don’t know what to give somebody, give them a nice card and give them cash. You don’t have to worry about the store closing when you give them cash.”