Which Retailers Are Closing Stores in 2017 by WWD

Which Retailers Are Closing Stores in 2017

From American Apparel to Macy's, retailers of all stripes have been suffering lately and closing stores.

By Evan Clark on March 13, 2017


It has not been a good year for retail.

Faced with the rise of e-commerce, the habit of Millennials to spend more on experiences and less on stuff and tough competition all around, more retailers are either closing completely or pinning their futures on fewer stores.

Here, a reckoning of the retailers that have decided to fold up at least some of their shops this year. The tally so far from Macy’s Inc., Sears Holdings Corp., The Limited, American Apparel, BCBG Max Azria Global Holdings, Wet Seal, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and, most recently, Guess Inc., comes to at least 1,108 stores slated to close.

Guess Inc.

Closing: 60

Bad News Delivered: March 15

The Bottom Line: Guess already shuttered 62 stores over the past two years and, with another 60 on the chopping block this year, the retailer expects store closures to boost its operating income by $16 million annually.

The Future: “As more than half of our leases will expire, or have kick-out clauses, in the next three years, we have a lot of flexibility to continue with a closure past this year to further improve profitability.” — Victor Herraro, chief executive officer.

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Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Closing: 60 stores

Bad News Delivered: March 2

The natural method: The retailer said it would be closing about 60 doors in the U.S. this year “through natural lease expirations.”

The future: “With about 50 percent of our U.S. leases expiring by the end of fiscal 2018, we continue to have significant lease flexibility to strike the right channel balance and drive efficiency by remodeling or resizing our stores, renegotiating leases, or closing.” — Joanne Crevoiserat, executive vice president, chief operating and financial officer

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J.C. Penney Co. Inc.

Closing: 130 to 140 stores this year

Bad News Delivered: Feb. 24

Encouraging words: “We are in the process of testing a lot of initiatives that we hope will work in smaller-footprint stores and in some of the stores in non A-level malls. If these initiatives play out well, we will have fewer stores to close in the future. I don’t think we will ever again be closing this many stores.” — Marvin Ellison, chairman and chief executive officer

Adding elsewhere: The department store is also bringing in 70 new Sephora shops, 100 appliance showrooms, 500 Nike shops and 400 Adidas shops.

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Wet Seal

Closing: 171 stores

Bad News Delivered: Jan. 26

On shutting done: “Unfortunately, the company was unable to obtain the necessary capital or identify a strategic partner, and was recently informed that it will receive no further financing for its operations. As a result, the company has no alternative but to proceed with an orderly liquidation.” — Michelle Stocker, vice president and general counsel

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BCBG Max Azria Global Holdings

Closing: 120 stores

Bad News Delivered: Jan. 18

The why: “Like so many other great brands, BCBG has been negatively impacted by the growth in online sales and shifts in customer shopping patterns and, as a result, has too large a physical retail footprint. In order to remain viable, the company — like so many others in its industry — must realign its business to effectively compete in today’s shopping environment.” — BCBG

Bankrupt: A New York bankruptcy court judge gave the company the OK to proceed with its plan to shutter the stores in March.

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American Apparel

Closing: 104 stores

Bad News Delivered: Jan. 16

Chapter 22: American Apparel didn’t survive its second tour through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process and ended with its stores closing down and its intellectual property sold to Gildan Activewear Inc. for $88 million.

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The Limited

Closed: 250 stores

Bad News Delivered: Jan. 6

The farewell: “We’re sad to say that all The Limited stores nationwide have officially closed their doors, but this isn’t goodbye. The styles you love are still available online — we’re just a quick click away 24 hours a day.” — the company’s web site

The next step: The firm’s intellectual property was bought in a bankruptcy auction by Sycamore Partners in February.

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Sears Holdings Corp.

Closing: 150 stores (including 108 Kmart and 42 Sears doors)

Bad News Delivered: Jan. 5

The rationale: The store closures are intended to “stem losses” and along with a new $500 million real estate-backed loan and a deal to sell Craftsman were part of a broader effort to put the company’s books in order.

The mission: “We are taking strong, decisive actions today to stabilize the company and improve our financial flexibility in what remains a challenging retail environment. We are committed to improving short-term operating performance in order to achieve our long-term transformation.” — Edward S. Lampert, chairman and chief executive officer

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Macy’s Inc.

Closing: 63 stores this spring

Bad News Delivered: Jan. 4

The process: “We looked at every pyramid of the company. We looked at benchmarking. We have been planning this very carefully. This is not something we did quickly.” — Jeff Gennette, Macy’s president and incoming chief executive officer

Slimming down: The closures are part of a streamlining that will see a total of 10,000 workers laid off, including 6,200 managers or 17 percent of the company’s executives.

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