These chains are closing the most stores permanently in 2020

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These chains are closing the most stores permanently in 2020
These chains are closing the most stores permanently in 2020

America’s stores were in rough shape even before the coronavirus hit, but the pandemic has worsened the toll on traditional retailers.

Forecasters say business will never go back to “normal,” as many shops have had an impossible time coming back from this year’s long lockdowns.

A record 9,500 stores went out of business in 2019, which seemed massive — but as many as 25,000 could shut down permanently in 2020, mostly in malls, says the an estimate from Coresight Research.

So far in 2020, more than 8,000 retail locations have gone dark for good, Coresight says.

Here are the major retailers that are permanently closing the most stores in 2020, starting with the biggest announcements. On your next stop at a going-out-of-business sale, be sure to use a cash-back card to save even more.

1. GNC

GNC vitamins nutrition center storefront shopping mall, Danvers Massachusetts USA, February 22, 2020
QualityHD / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: Up to 1,200

GNC, which has been selling nutrition and diet products since 1935, is slimming down in a big way. The vitamins and supplements retailer has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and says it will close 800 to 1,200 of its roughly 7,300 stores.

In a statement to customers, GNC says it has been under financial pressure the last few years and was making progress toward paying down its debt and keeping up with online competitors.

“However, the COVID-19 pandemic created a situation where we were unable to accomplish our refinancing and the abrupt change in the operating environment had a dramatic negative impact on our business,” the company says.

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2. Pier 1 Imports

A Pier 1 Imports store in Hillsboro, Oregon
Steve Morgan / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: 936

Pier 1 Imports decided to throw in the towel — and the scented candle, the silk pillow, the papasan chair and every other item this home furnishings retailer has been known for.

The chain didn’t plan to go out of business in 2020. But it began the year announcing that nearly half of its more than 900 stores would shut down. The company filed for bankruptcy and was hoping to find a buyer.

“Unfortunately, the challenging retail environment has been significantly compounded by the profound impact of COVID-19, hindering our ability to secure such a buyer and requiring us to wind down,” Pier 1 CEO Robert Riesbeck says, in a May 19 news release.

The closing of all Pier 1 stores brings an end to a retailer that started in 1962 with one location selling beanbag chairs, incense and love beads to baby boomers in San Mateo, California.

3. Stage Stores

A Gordmans store in Nampa Idaho, in 2012
Caldorwards4 / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: 738

It’s hard for regional discount department stores to hold their own against national giants Walmart, Target and Kohl’s.

The latest retailer to find this out is Stage Stores, the owner of Gordmans off-price stores and a bunch of other regional brands, including Bealls, Goody’s and Peebles. The company filed for bankruptcy on May 10 and said it would permanently shut down all of its stores.

Stage Stores was trying to get itself on a better financial footing after a weak 2019 holiday season — but then along came COVID-19, which forced the company to close its stores for weeks.

The history of Stage Stores goes all the way back to the 1920s when two of its chains, Bealls and Palais Royal, were founded as family-owned businesses.

4. Men’s Wearhouse/Jos. A. Bank

Columbus,Ohio/USA April 24, 2019: Men's Wearhouse is a nation retail discounter of Men's suits and clothing accessories.
Eric Glenn / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 500

Commercials for Men’s Wearhouse used to end with the chain’s gravel-voiced founder and CEO George Zimmer vowing that if you bought one of the company’s suits, “You’re gonna like the way you look. I guarantee it.”

But Zimmer was ousted in 2013, and guys who are now working from home because of the coronavirus have decided they look just fine in polos and jeans. Suit sales have collapsed, and the owner of Men’s Wearhouse has filed for bankruptcy.

Weeks ahead of the early August bankruptcy, Tailored Brands — which also owns the Jos. A. Bank, Moores and K&G clothing chains — said it would shut down up to 500 of its roughly 1,400 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

The goal is to become “a stronger company that has the financial and operational flexibility to compete and win in the rapidly evolving retail environment,” says Tailored Brands CEO Dinesh Lathi, in a statement.

5. New York & Co.

New York & Co store at Dadeland Mall in Miami
Phillip Pessar / Flickr

Stores closing in 2020: 405

After a disappointingly quiet holiday shopping season in 2019, New York & Co. began this year with an announcement that it would close more than 25 of its shops by early February.

The women’s fashion and accessories retailer indicated shoppers were visiting the chain’s stores less often while spending more time on the company’s website.

That was the diagnosis early in 2020 — before the coronavirus hit. Parent company RTW Retailwinds later filed for bankruptcy and announced that New York & Co.’s remaining stores would go out of business. Around 380 were left.

The retailer was known for its collaborations with celebrities, including the actresses Gabrielle Union and Eva Mendes. The company was founded more than 100 years ago as Lerner Shops.

6. GameStop

Greenville - Circa April 2018: GameStop Strip Mall Location. GameStop is a Video Game and Electronics Retailer I
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: At least 320

Like a gamer shooting at enemy targets, GameStop is picking off store locations that it believes are too close to one another and aren’t helping sales.

“In 2020, we will continue our work to de-densify our global store fleet,” Jim Bell, the chief financial officer, told analysts on a recent conference call. That was after the world’s largest video game retailer announced that sales at its more established stores were down 19.4% last year.

In recent months GameStop found itself in the midst of controversy when it insisted its stores were “essential” and kept them open during coronavirus lockdowns longer than other chains.

Then, the stores allowed customers to pick up online orders at the door, but employees said they didn’t have adequate protection. In a statement, the company told The Boston Globe that employees were “assured that they do not have to work if they are not comfortable.”

7. Signet Jewelers

New York NY/USA-March 18, 2018 Signet JewelerÕs Kay Jewelers in Downtown Brooklyn in New York
rblfmr / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 300

Signet calls itself “the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry,” so why is it you’ve never heard of the company? Because Signet doesn’t operate stores under its own name but instead owns nearly every jewelry chain you do know.

Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Piercing Pagoda, JB Robinson Jewelers and several other brands are all part of the Signet family. The stores started the year off with strong Valentine’s Day sales, but that was before the coronavirus struck.

Sales dropped more than 40% in the company’s latest quarter, so Signet says 150 North American stores that have been under lockdown will stay closed. Another 150 locations will shut down later in the year.

Signet operates about 3,200 jewelry stores worldwide, but it says the virus has sped up the company’s transformation into more of an online retailer.

8. Stein Mart

Palm Beach, FL USA 07/10/2019 Stein Mart South Florida Business Exterior with Sign Slightly Obscured By Tall Palm Trees
Photointoto / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: Up to 281

Several retailers have been done in by the COVID-19 pandemic following decades in business. In the case of the discount department store chain Stein Mart, it lasted for well over a century, since 1908.

But the company announced in mid-August that it filed for bankrutpcy and would close “a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores.” There are more than 280 in 30 states.

Stein Mart’s low-price locations carry a little bit of everything: clothing, shoes, jewelry, bedding, luggage, even candy. But the virus and a “challenging retail environment” have made it difficult for the chain to carry on, CEO Hunt Hawkins said in a news release.

“I would like to thank all of our employees for their dedication and support,” Hawkins said. More than 8,600 people were expected to lose their jobs, according to media reports.

9. Bed Bath & Beyond

A Bed Bath and Beyond store location in Eagan, Minnesota.
Tony Webster / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: Up to 260

Bed Bath & Beyonds are behemoths. Some occupy more than 80,000 square feet and display around 300,000 items from floor to ceiling. That’s a lot of bath mats, bed sheets and potholders.

Before the pandemic hit, the home goods retailer planned to turn 40 of its stores into empty big boxes by March 2020. Another 20 stores were marked for closure from the other chains BB&B owns, including buybuy BABY and Cost Plus World Market.

In early July, after the business took a serious hit from COVID-19 shutdowns, the company announced plans to close around 200 more stores over the next two years. That’s out of nearly 1,500 stores total.

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10. AT&T

Indianapolis - Circa: March 2019: AT&T Retail cell phone and mobility store. AT&T wrapped up its merger with WarnerMedia and now controls HBO and CNN V
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 250

AT&T is hanging it up at 250 of its retail locations, including both AT&T Stores and Cricket Wireless shops. Labor union the Communications Workers of America says the closings will affect 1,300 store employees.

“Reducing our workforce is a difficult decision that we don’t take lightly,” AT&T said in a statement. “With more customers shopping online, we are closing some retail stores to reflect our customers’ shopping practices. While these plans are not new, they have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

AT&T plans to offer workers from the affected stores other, work-from-home jobs within the company, according to CNN.

The closures come less than two years after AT&T announced plans to open more than 1,000 new stores. At that time, the company had more than 5,300 locations.

11. Victoria’s Secret

Toronto, Canada - February 25, 2019: Victoria's Secret storefront in the Eaton Centre Mall in Toronto, Canada. Victoria's Secret the largest American retailer of women's lingerie.
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 250

It’s no secret that this lingerie retailer has been having problems in recent years as many women have decided the chain isn’t relevant anymore and isn’t inclusive enough.

It didn’t help that then-Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek told Vogue in 2018 that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was “fantasy” and had no place for transgender or plus-size models.

With sales declining, Victoria’s Secret has announced that about a quarter of its more than 1,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada will be out of business by the end of 2020.

And, interim CEO Stuart Burgdoerfer has told Wall Street analysts he expects there will be more closings in 2021 and 2022.

12. Chico’s

Chico's store, Green Oak Village Place, Green Oak Township, Michigan
Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: Up to 250

Chico’s specializes in sophisticated clothing, accessories and intimates for women. It serves “the lifestyle needs of fashion-savvy women 30 years and older,” according to its website.

The company — which also operates the the Soma and White House Black Market stores — was founded in 1983 by a husband and wife team and named after a friend’s parrot. It grew rapidly to more than 1,400 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Now, the chain is shifting gears away from traditional stores. That spells the end for 250 U.S. locations by early 2022. It’s not clear how many have already closed.

Chico’s has partnered with Amazon, ShopRunner and QVC to accommodate its 8 million customers’ changing needs and shopping behaviors.

13. Tuesday Morning

Wichita Falls, TX - February 7, 2020: Tuesday Morning Home Decor Store
LM Photos / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 232

These are tough times even for a deep-discount retailer whose stores normally look like they’re holding going-out-of-business sales.

Closeout chain Tuesday Morning filed for bankruptcy and held liquidation sales for real as it shut down around 230 of its nearly 700 locations during the summer of 2020.

“The prolonged and unexpected closures of our stores in response to COVID-19 has had severe consequences on our business,” says CEO Steve Becker, in a news release.

Tuesday Morning got its start — and its odd name — from a massive “garage sale” of manufacturers’ unsold inventory that founder Lloyd Ross held on a Tuesday morning in 1974. He considered Tuesday “the first positive day of the week.”

14. Gap

Gap store in a mall
Khemkhaeng / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: Up to 230

The Gap chain is shrinking — in more ways that one.

The clothing retailer is on its way to closing around half of its stores through early 2021. The company made that decision following a not-so-merry 2018 holiday season that saw Gap’s sales decline 5%.

Robert Fisher, currently Gap’s interim CEO, says the closures will breathe new life into the 50-year-old brand. Not only that, but remaining stores will be reduced in size.

In late January 2020, Gap announced that it had so far closed 89 stores — including 56 in the U.S. — toward its goal of closing about 230 by February of next year.

15. J.C. Penney

Dayton - Circa April 2018: JC Penney Retail Mall Location. JCP is an Apparel and Home Furnishing Retailer I
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 204

J.C. Penney has survived since 1902, but the company whose department stores are a fixture in shopping malls across America is now battling for its life against Amazon, Walmart, Target and off-price retailers like T.J. Maxx.

Penney filed for bankruptcy protection in mid-May and informed federal regulators it would permanently close 242 of its stores: 192 in 2020 and another 50 next year. CEO Jill Soltau says in a news release that the company is dealing with “unprecedented challenges” because of COVID-19.

And how’s this for an indignity? J.C. Penney stock has become a penny stock: It dropped below $1 a share in January and has fallen steadily since then, leading the New York Stock Exchange to delist the stock.

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16. Family Video

HICKORY, NC, USA-9/2/18: A Family Video store, one in the only chain of video stores in the U.S., with one car and one female in parking lot.
Nolichuckyjake / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 200

Never mind Blockbuster, with its one remaining store (in Bend, Oregon). Another video chain is still around, renting DVDs and Blu-rays, but the closing credits are running on many of its locations.

Family Video, which calls itself “the largest movie and game rental chain” in the U.S., is closing hundreds of stores, reports The Times of Northwest Indiana. More than 300 will remain.

“Recent events have caused us to make some tough business decisions,” the company explains on its website.

Family Video operates primarily in the Midwestern U.S. The chain started in Springfield, Illinois, in 1978.

17. The Children’s Place

TORONTO, CANADA - JANUARY 19, 2018: Children's Place store front in the Fairview Mall in Toronto.
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 200

The Children’s Place — which has been dressing kids for over 50 years — has decided to put hundreds of its stores to bed.

Two-hundred locations are going out of business this year and another 100 will leave the playground in 2021, because of what CEO Jane Elfers describes as “the rapidly changing shopping patterns of our consumer, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Children’s Place wants to move more of it business online and away from struggling shopping malls. It has already closed 275 stores since 2013.

The retailer had more than 900 locations in the U.S. and Canada as of early May.

18. Art Van Furniture

Art Van Furniture store, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dwight Burdette / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: About 200

Art Van Furniture and mattress stores have been an institution in the Midwest, but the region is going to have to learn to get along without them.

The chain announced in early March that it was closing all of its company-owned stores in eight states, and a few days later Art Van filed for bankruptcy. In its filing, the company said its problems included losing customers to Amazon and Wayfair.

“Despite our best efforts to remain open, the company’s brands and operating performance have been hit hard by a challenging retail environment,” spokeswoman Diane Charles said, in a statement.

The chain’s odd name came from its founder, Archie “Art” Van Elslander, who opened the first store in the Detroit area in 1959.

19. Walgreens

Indianapolis - Circa February 2017: Walgreens Retail Location. Walgreens is an American Pharmaceutical Company IX
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock
Walgreens has prescribed hundreds of store closings.

Stores closing in 2020: The last of 200

Drugstore chain Walgreens has been taking a big dose of downsizing. The company announced in the summer of 2019 that it would shut down about 200 of its U.S. stores, and that work is still going on.

Three San Francisco Walgreens closed this year, including a location in a prominent spot on Market Street. In March, a Walgreens closed on the main shopping street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C.

Walgreens says the closings amount to fewer than 3% of the chain’s nearly 9,600 locations in the U.S.

The chain is trying new ways to lure customers into its stores. For example, there’s now an arrangement that lets Urban Outfitters’ online shoppers pick up their orders at Walgreens locations.

20. Destination Maternity

Destination Maternity, Avalon, Alpharetta, GA
Thomson200 / Wikimedia Commons
Destination Maternity is expecting to close 280 stores over four years.

Stores closing in 2020: The last of 183

Is anyone surprised that expectant moms would rather shop from the comfort of home than trudge to the mall?

So, Destination Maternity — which operates stores under its own name, as well as Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod — has been struggling to compete against online retailers.

With sales dropping, the chain filed for bankruptcy in October 2019 and said in a court filing that it would shut down more than 180 stores. The company was still working its way through its closure list in early 2020.

“In a challenging retail environment, we have had to make some very tough choices,” said Destination Maternity CEO Lisa Gavales, in a statement. Her company wants to sell more of its maternity clothes via the web.

21. Papyrus

EDINA, MN/USA - JANUARY 1, 2020: Papyrus retail store exterior and trademark logo.
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 178

The appropriate greeting card for this occasion is the kind that says, “We’re sorry to see you go.”

Papyrus, the upscale stationery and greeting card retailer that was a fixture in malls across America, has folded. The chain’s 70-year-old parent company Schurman Retail Group filed for bankruptcy in January and announced that all of its stores would close.

A total of 254 Papyrus, American Greetings and Carlton Cards stores have gone out of business, including 178 in the U.S. The rest are in Canada.

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22. Forever 21

SINGAPORE - OCT 19 : Forever 21 Store at ION Orchard shopping mall on October 19, 2014
March Marcho / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2019: The last of 178

Forever 21 has been one of the giants of the “fast-fashion” business. The chain offers low-price clothing that changes rapidly to keep up with trends, and its massive stores have been a major go-to for teens who want hot styles at cheap prices.

But with young shoppers now questioning whether Forever 21’s disposable clothing is good for the planet, the retailer has been forced to file for bankruptcy and shut down part of its buisness.

“Forever” has come to an end for nearly 350 stores worldwide, including nearly 200 U.S. stores. Those closings were announced last year, though a few didn’t happen until early 2020.

Forever 21 has new owners who plan to save the nearly 450 stores that are still open in the U.S.

23. Modell’s Sporting Goods

A Modell's store, Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York
Modell’s Sporting Goods / Ajay Suresh / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: 153

You’re probably familiar with Modell’s Sporting Goods if you’ve ever been to New York City, where it seems there are almost as many of the stores as there are subway stations. In fact, Times Square has had two Modell’s just one block from each another.

But now they’re closing, along with all of the company’s other stores along the U.S. East Coast.

Modell’s said in February that it would close 24 of its stores, but a few weeks later the chain filed for bankruptcy and announced it would be shutting down all of its locations, from Massachusetts to Virginia.

Company executives blame Modell’s demise on: tough competition from big-box stores and Amazon; bad seasons for the region’s sports teams; a shorter holiday shopping season last year; and warm weather that hurt sales of jackets and other outerwear.

24. A.C. Moore

An A.C. Moore store in Framingham Massachusetts
John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: More than 145

The arts and crafts chain A.C. Moore is no more.

The retailer — whose stores were known for their generous coupons and were found primarily east of the Mississippi — has shut down. The company announced it was going out of business early in 2020.

“Unfortunately, given the headwinds facing many retailers in today’s environment, it made it very difficult for us to operate and compete on a national level,” A.C. Moore’s CEO Anthony Piperno said, in a statement.

The first store was opened in New Jersey in 1985 by a guy named Jack Parker. Up to 40 of the A.C. Moore locations may have reopened as Michaels arts and crafts stores.

25. Macy’s

Macy's Auburn Mall store in Auburn, Massachusetts
JJBers / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: The first of 125

Macy’s has made the shocking announcement that one fifth of its iconic department stores will be gone within three years.

CEO Jeff Gennette says the company will close 125 stores in struggling malls that customers are abandoning. The number includes 28 stores already being closed as part of Macy’s usual downsizing following the holiday shopping season.

“We will focus our resources on the healthy parts of our business, directly address the unhealthy parts of the business and explore new revenue streams,” Gennette said, in a news release.

As it tries to rely less on malls and reinvent what a department store is, the giant retailer is experimenting with opening smaller stores in strip shopping centers.

26. Wilsons Leather

Orlando, Florida, USA- February 24, 2020: Wilsons Leather store sign in Orlando, Florida.
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 110

Wilsons Leather — a chain known for its leather belts, shoes, handbags, gloves and especially jackets — is zipping it up.

Parent company G-III Apparel Group decided to close the last of the Wilsons Leather stores, which dwindled from more than 700 locations that operated in the U.S. and Canada in the early 2000s.

G-III also is shutting down its 89 G.H. Bass shoe and clothing stores.

The company says it wants to focus on what it calls its “five global power brands”: DKNY, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld.

27. Office Depot

An Office Depot store
Mike Mozart / Flickr

Stores closing in 2020: Up to 90

You may have to drive farther on your lunch hour for ink cartridges and mailing envelopes.

Seeing greater potential in business-to-business services, Office Depot has announced it will close 90 locations by 2021. That’s on top of 55 that have gone dark over the last year.

The office supplies company also owns OfficeMax, so some of those stores are on the chopping block as well.

CEO Joe Lower has told investors that the company’s stores might account for only 20% of all sales within three years.

28. Olympia Sports

An Olympia Sports store going out of business in Webster, Massachusetts
JJBers / Flickr

Stores closing in 2020: 76

It’s game over in 2020 for half the stores that are part of the Olympia Sports chain. That’s a regional sporting goods retailer familiar to shoppers in New England, New York and elsewhere along the East Coast.

The company got bought out last year by JackRabbit, a chain that has stores across the U.S. selling sneakers, exercise gear and athletic apparel.

The deal didn’t include 76 of Olympia Sports’ more than 150 stores, so liquidation sales at those locations began in November 2019 and stretched into the new year.

Olympia Sports was launched in 1975 in Portland, Maine, and spread as far south as the Washington, D.C., area.

29. Express

Springfield, Missouri - October 31, 2019: Express, Inc. is an American fashion retailer that caters mainly to young men and women. The company is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.
damann / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: Up to 66

What shopping center doesn’t have an Express store? The men’s and women’s closing retailer first appeared as “Limited Express” 40 years ago and quickly became a mall staple.

But fewer shoppers are visiting malls now, so Express is trying to keep itself on track. Following a disappointing 2019 holiday shopping season, the chain has announced plans to close around 100 stores by 2022.

The number includes 31 that have already shut down in 2020, and another 35 that will be gone by the end of January 2021.

That’s out of 411 mall-based locations and 215 Express Factory Outlet stores that the company reported in a public filing in November.

30. Sur La Table

Kirkland, WA / USA - circa April 2020: Street view of a Sur La Table cookware store in downtown Kirkland, with customers shopping for kitchen supplies inside.
Colleen Michaels / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 56

The coronavirs pandemic put the cookware chain Sur La Table in hot water — causing the retailer to file for bankruptcy in early July with plans to close nearly half its 121 stores.

The rest would be sold to an investment firm. “This sale process will result in a revitalized Sur La Table, positioned to thrive in a post COVID-19 retail environment,” says CEO Jason Goldberger in a statement.

Sur La Table got its start in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1972. The company says founder Shirley Collins had a simple idea: “Make good food. Share it. Do so often.”

The chain doesn’t just sell products for the kitchen and dining room but also offers in-store and online cooking classes. Those will continue via the remaining stores under the new owners.

31. Brooks Brothers

NEW YORK, USA - JULY 4, 2013: People walk by Brooks Brothers fashion store in 6th Avenue, New York. Brooks Brothers is one of oldest clothes store chains in the USA, founded in year 1818.
Tupungato / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 51

It’s tough to sell men’s and women’s suits and other fine clothing at a time when many Americans are working from home in shorts and scruffy polo shirts.

That’s part of the story behind the bankruptcy filing and store closings at Brooks Brothers, which has been in business since 1818. It’s the oldest clothing brand operating continuously in the U.S.

During its 200-plus years the retailer has never had to face anything like the coronavirus. But Brooks Brothers was in decline even before COVID-19 because of relaxed work dress codes and the growing popularity of online shopping.

“Industry headwinds were only intensified by the pandemic,” says CEO Claudio Del Vecchio. The company is now looking for a buyer as it shuts down U.S. stores that represent about one-fifth of its locations in North America.

32. Sears

A Sears store going out of business
jasonwoodhead23 / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: 51

Sears is more than 130 years old — and dying a slow death.

The iconic chain was once the largest retailer in the country, and it played a key role in the rise of shopping malls.

Its innovative mail-order catalogue forever changed the way people shop. The next time you order a rug or a refrigerator, you’ll have Sears to thank.

The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2019, but not looking any stronger. The months since have seen one round of store closings after another. Dozens more locations will be shutting down by February 2020.

The chain’s current owner says in a statement that it’s “pruning operations that have struggled due to increased competition and other factors.”

33. Bath & Body Works

Denver, Colorado, USA-September 12, 2014. Shopping at Park Meadows Mall of South Denver.
Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 50

You’d think that a chain selling soaps and hand sanitizers would have it made during the coronavirus pandemic, but Bath & Body Works is closing 50 of its locations, primarily in malls.

CEO Andrew Meslow told analysts on a conference call in May that the mall stores “may not come back to their pre-crisis levels of productivity.”

So, the Bath & Body Works rubber duckie mascot will have a smaller pool to swim in — even though the company’s soap and sanitizer business is indeed growing fast. Sales have doubled from a year ago.

“Sanitizer is now something that will likely be part of all of our daily routines for the months and years ahead. So, [it’s a] meaningful opportunity,” Meslow said.

34. Earth Fare

An Earth Fare store going out of business in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Aaron F. Stone / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: 50

Smaller organic grocery chains are learning that they’re no match for goliath Whole Foods and its owner, Amazon.

Asheville, North Carolina-based Earth Fare decided to give up the fight. The chain announced in early February that it would shut down all 50 of its natural foods supermarkets in 10 Southern and Midwestern states.

“Continued challenges in the retail industry impeded the company’s progress as well as its ability to refinance its debt,” said a news release from Earth Fare, which was called Dinner for the Earth when it started in 1975.

Consumers struggling with credit card debt have a reliable refinance option: They can roll the balances into a low-interest debt consolidation loan.

35. Bose

Tysons, USA - January 26, 2018: Bose closeup store sign entrance shopping in Tyson's Corner Mall in Fairfax, Virginia by Mclean
Kristi Blokhin / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 50

Bose isn’t amped up over having brick-and-mortar retail stores anymore, so the speaker and headphone company is closing all 119 of its outposts in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia.

The Bose website lists 50 stores in the U.S. — which will all be out of business within months.

The first U.S. store opened in 1993 as a place where consumers could test and experience Bose products. “At the time, it was a radical idea, but we focused on what our customers needed, and where they needed it – and we’re doing the same thing now,” says Colette Burke, the company’s vice president of global sales.

But Bose says its customers are increasingly doing their shopping online now.

36. Kmart

A Kmart store holds a going-out-of-business sale in Lancaster, Ohio
dankeck / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: 45

The home of the Blue Light Special first opened under the name Kmart in 1962. The discount chain had almost 2,500 locations worldwide in 1994, but the retailer closed hundreds when it filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

Two years later, Kmart merged with Sears. And that’s when things really started going bad.

The lights have steadily been going out at Kmart stores in recent years. Dozens have shut down in 2019. Nearly 50 more will close by February 2020.

And that will leave just 182 Sears and Kmart stores still going. Transformco, the company that now owns the two chains, says the business has faced “a difficult retail environment and other challenges.”

37. Christopher & Banks

A Christopher & Banks store in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Steve Morgan / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: Up to 40

Gil Braun opened Braun’s Fashions in Minneapolis in 1956. He said he found the local women “full of life and wisdom” and aimed to provide them with high fashion at affordable prices.

In 2000, Braun’s evolved into the brands Christopher & Banks and CJ Banks. The chain quickly expanded to 500 locations.

But lately, Christopher & Banks has looking at the math. During one quarter in 2018, the company lost $8.8 million, but its online sales increased almost 11%. So, the company is cutting back on stores and shifting resources to its e-commerce business.

The plan is to close 30 to 40 stores by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, the retailer’s stock has dropped so low that it has been removed from the New York Stock Exchange.

38. Lucky’s Market

Springfield, Missouri / USA - September 7 2019 Lucky's Market Storefront
Taylor E Williams / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 32

Here’s another natural foods supermarket that has thrown in the (recycled paper) towel after trying to compete against Whole Foods.

Colorado-based Lucky’s Market — which was founded in 2003 and uses the slogan “Organic for the 99%” — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late January and decided to close 32 of its 39 stores in 10 states.

The company planned to sell the remaining seven, according to media reports.

Lucky’s was so hot at one time that it drew a major investment from Kroger, America’s largest supermarket company. Kroger’s money helped Lucky’s grow from just 17 stores to nearly 40 within three years, but Kroger pulled the plug on the partnership in late 2019.

39. CVS

A CVS pharmacy in North Richland Hills, Texas
Smarty9108 / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: 22

CVS intends to close around two dozen of its drugstores in 2020, which is about half the number that shut down in 2019.

You’ll still find one on nearly ever corner, because there will be roughly 9,900 remaining CVS locations.

The neighborhood pharmacy and retail chain is focusing on its stores that have MinuteClinics, which offer basic, walk-in medical services. That strategy is right in line with the parent company’s name, CVS Health.

About 1,100 stores have the clinics so far. If you need a flu shot, suspect a bladder infection or want to undergo a cholesterol screening, you’re in the right place.

Chief Financial Officer Eva Boratto hopes shuttering underperforming CVS stores will generate “enhanced longer-term performance.”

40. Lord & Taylor

Lord & Taylor (Westfarms, West Hartford, Connecticut)
JJBers / Flickr

Stores closing in 2020: 21

Lord & Taylor is a relic that has been around since 1826. The original store in Manhattan advertised “fashionable dry goods” such as cloaks, shawls, mourning attire, laces and embroideries.

The chain has been withering and closed its New York City flagship store in January 2019. What was left of Lord & Taylor was bought last year by Le Tote, a clothing rental service that thought it could breathe new life into the brand.

But that was before the coronavirus outbreak came along and forced stores to lock things down for weeks. L&T had trouble coming back from that, and filed for bankruptcy at the beginning of August.

Executives say half of the last 38 Lord & Taylor department stores will close for good. Two other locations went out of business in early 2020.

41. Hallmark

Hallmark cards shop
Raysonho / Wikimedia Commons

Stores closing in 2020: At least 18

The slogan for Hallmark Cards used to be, “When you care enough to send the very best.” But the problem today is that fewer people care about sending greeting cards at all.

Hallmark’s website says the company’s brand is still on more than 2,000 card shops. But well over a dozen are closing in 2020, according to various media reports.

Those include an Evansville, Indiana, Hallmark store that’s been in business for 44 years, and a longtime location in Forest Park, Illinois, owned by Rich Schauer. He says the business just isn’t viable anymore.

“People used to buy and send cards all the time,” he told the Forest Park Review. “It’s all online now. Everyone celebrates their birthdays on social media.”

42. Nordstrom

Toronto, Canada - May 30, 2017: Signage of Nordstrom store at Eaton Centre, Toronto.
Lester Balajadia / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 16

Nordstrom is another department store chain that’s making some of its coronavirus closures permanent.

The Seattle-based retailer that’s known for its stellar customer service and that used to feature live piano music in its stores says 16 locations will be going out of business in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

A news release says the closings are part of a plan by the company “to strengthen its business for the long-term.” Nordstrom will be left with 100 department stores.

Need more money to score deals at this year’s liquidation sales? You could easily be paying too much for car insurance, so save by shopping around for a lower rate.

43. Century 21

New York, New York, USA - November 13, 2011: People can be seen walking by the recently opened Century 21 discount department store on Broadway near Lincoln Center.
DW labs Incorporated / Shutterstock

Stores closing in 2020: 13

On the old HBO show “Sex and the City,” Sarah Jessica Parker’s Carrie Bradshaw character called Century 21’s Lower Manhattan store “the best part of jury duty.”

The off-price fashion retailer has been a New York area institution for almost 60 years. But that long run is coming to an end.

Century 21 has filed for bankruptcy and is putting its stores out of business.

In a news release, co-CEO Raymond Gindi blames the chain’s demise on insurance companies that he says “have turned their backs on us at this most critical time” — meaning during the pandemic.

44. Bloomingdale’s

A Bloomingdale's department store
Robert Stinnett / Flickr

Stores closing in 2020: 1

Luxury department store Bloomingdale’s has a lot of history, dating all the way back to its founding in 1861. The chain is now owned by Macy’s Inc., and it has remained on the small side over the years.

Now it’s even smaller. A store south of Miami — one of only 35 full-line Bloomingdale’s locations that were listed on the company’s website — closed in mid-January.

The Miami Bloomingdale’s opened in 1984, and it was knocked out of business for more than a year after Hurricane Andrew tore through South Florida in 1992.

The store was able to come back from a Category 5 hurricane, but it couldn’t survive what has been dubbed the “Retail Apocalypse.”

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