Mike Timmermann, Clark.com
2018 is shaping up to be another difficult year for traditional retailers. After shutting down more than 5,000 stores in 2017, there have been more than 2,000 store closures announced over the past few months.
The latest news comes from a fast-food giant that’s reducing its store footprint in the U.S. Read on for the details…
2018 retail closings: The latest news
Subway – 500 restaurants
Subway plans to close 500 of its U.S. sandwich shops this year and will focus on expanding internationally, according to Bloomberg.
The company has faced competition from McDonald’s, supermarkets and even gas stations. It’s reportedly struggling to increase sales in the U.S. as new options emerge.
There are still more than 25,000 Subway locations across the country.
Bon-Ton – 256 stores
The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., a department store chain, announced in mid-April that it’s going out of business.
The store has been an icon of retail since 1854 with 256 locations today in operation throughout 23 states in the Midwest, Northeast and upper Great Plains.
Bon-Ton also owns six other nameplates: Boston Store, Younkers, Bergner’s, Carson’s, Elder-Beerman and Herberger’s.
The liquidation process in all Bon-Ton stores began on April 20 and is expected to run for approximately 10 to 12 weeks. Customers can learn more at bontonrestructuring.com.
Previously announced store closures
Toys R Us – 735 stores
It’s a sad day for Toys R Us kids across the country.
The iconic Wayne, New Jersey-based toy retailer announced in a news release that it filed a motion seeking Bankruptcy Court approval to begin the process of winding down its U.S. business — liquidating all 735 of its stores.
“This is a profoundly sad day for us as well as the millions of kids and families who we have served for the past 70 years,” said Toys R Us Chairman and CEO and Dave Brandon.
Here are three things Toys R Us shoppers need to know about the going-out-of-business sales:
- Liquidation sales began Friday, March 23 at Toys R Us and Babies R Us locations nationwide.
- Use any remaining gift cards before they become worthless! USA Today reports that the retailer plans to honor gift cards until mid-April.
- Toys R Us is expected to finish liquidating stores by the end of June, although some stores may close sooner.
J. Crew – 20 stores
J.Crew Group announced in March that it plans to close 20 stores in 2018. It shut down 50 stores during fiscal 2017.
The retailer says it’s seeing results in its most important business — women’s apparel — but the company is only in the beginning stages of evolving the J.Crew brand.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, J.Crew sales decreased 4% and Madewell sales rose 32%.
Abercrombie & Fitch – 60 stores
Abercrombie & Fitch isn’t finished shrinking its retail footprint. The teen apparel company said it plans to close about 60 stores in the U.S. during the fiscal year as leases expire.
CNBC reports that Abercrombie has been trimming its store count in malls because more people are buying clothes online.
Foot Locker – 110 stores
Your favorite shoe store may be closing soon — Foot Locker is shutting down 110 stores in 2018.
During a recent earnings call, Foot Locker executives said the retailer is continuing to close underperforming stores. The company has struggled with declining foot traffic at malls and the shift to e-commerce.
Foot Locker reported a net loss of $49 million in the fourth quarter and comparable-store sales fell 3.7%.
Best Buy cell phone stores – 250 stores
The small-format stores will close May 31, but the retailer will continue to sell cell phones at its 1,000 U.S. big box stores and online.
J.C. Penney – 8 stores
Around 670 jobs will be cut with the closing of the distribution center in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, this summer.
Meanwhile, around 480 employees will be affected by the eight stores that are closing, which follows a post-holiday review. The locations will be shut down between now and May, according to CNBC.
Here’s a list of the affected stores:
- St. Louis, Missouri
- Paramus, New Jersey
- Galesburg, Illinois
- Alexandria, Minnesota
- Bartlesville, Oklahoma
- Burlington, Washington
- Calexico, California
- Mt. Vernon, Ohio
J.C. Penney still operates approximately 875 stores nationwide.
Sam’s Club – 63 stores
Bad news for Sam’s Club members! The Walmart-owned warehouse club has abruptly shut down multiple locations across the country, according to local media reports.
The retailer has confirmed that 63 clubs are closing and up to 12 of them will be converted to e-commerce fulfillment centers.
“Transforming our business means managing our real estate portfolio and Walmart needs a strong fleet of Sam’s Clubs that are fit for the future,” said John Furner, president and CEO of Sam’s Club. “We know this is difficult news for our associates and we are working to place as many of them as possible at nearby locations. Our focus today has been on those associates and their communities, and communicating with them.”
Walmart said the impacted clubs will close over the next few weeks, leaving 597 Sam’s Club locations.
Several people have used Twitter to ask for an official list of the stores that are going away. Sam’s Club has replied by directing them to the store locator tool on SamsClub.com.
Macy’s – 11 stores
Nearly a dozen Macy’s department stores will soon be closing their doors forever.
Macy’s intends to close an additional 19 stores as leases or operating covenants expire or sale transactions are completed.
The following Macy’s stores will be closing in early 2018. In most cases, clearance sales will begin on January 8, 2018, and run for approximately 8 to 12 weeks.
- Laguna Hills Mall, Laguna Hills, CA
- Westside Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
- Novato (Furniture), Novato, CA
- Stonestown Galleria, San Francisco, CA
- The Oaks, Gainesville, FL
- Miami (Downtown), Miami, FL
- Magic Valley Mall, Twin Falls, ID
- Honey Creek Mall, Terre Haute, IN
- Birchwood Mall, Fort Gratiot Township, MI
- Fountain Place, Cincinnati, OH
- Burlington Town Center, Burlington, VT
Sears and Kmart – 103 stores
Just days after the holiday shopping season ended, Sears Holdings announced that it’s closing more than 100 stores.
In a news release, the struggling retailer said it told associates at 64 Kmart and 39 Sears stores that the locations will be shut down between early March and early April 2018.
Liquidation sales will begin as early as January 12 at the impacted department stores. See the full list here.
“Sears Holdings continues its strategic assessment of the productivity of our Kmart and Sears store base and will continue to right size our store footprint in number and size,” the company said in a statement. “In the process, as previously announced we will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members.”
Sears Holdings previously announced plans to shut down 63 Kmart and Sears stores this January. The company closed more than 350 locations last year.
Gap and Banana Republic – 200 stores
Gap Inc. plans to close 200 Gap and Banana Republic locations over the next three years, the company announced in September 2017. No list of the stores was released, but they’re all “underperforming.”
At the same time, Gap Inc. will open 270 locations for its growing brands, Old Navy and Athleta.
Teavana – 379 stores
Many of the 379 Teavana stores, which are primarily mall-based, have been underperforming. Starbucks said it tried to improve sales through creative merchandising and new store designs, but it just wasn’t working.
Ascena Retail Group – At least 268 stores
Ascena Retail Group, the women’s clothing retailer that operates the brands Ann Taylor, Loft, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant, Justice and several others, is planning to close hundreds of stores.
In June 2017, 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.
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 2017 news release, the company is making the move to improve the profitability of its store fleet. No list of the affected stores was released.
Clark’s key takeaway
If you happen to receive a gift card for any of the retailers on this list, money expert Clark Howard wants you to spend it right away in case your local store is on the chopping block.
“If you have any gift cards for major retailers, I want you to go and shop. I want you to use them up,” Clark said.