It was a record-breaking year in retail, according to reports — but not the good kind. More store closings have been announced this year than in any other year before, as retailers across categories have collectively announced plans to close the doors on 6,700 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S., with many declaring bankruptcy as well.
Fung Global Retail & Technology, a retail think tank — and the source of the data — found that the prior record, 6,163, was notched during the 2008 financial meltdown. Walgreens managed to give 2017 the win yesterday with its news that it would be shuttering 600 locations.
But though they got the year over that last mile, Kmart, Sears, JCPenney, Ann Taylor, Gap, Banana Republic, Gymboree, Teavana, Michael Kors, Bebe, Perfumania, The Limited and Staples have all been big contributors to the climbing store closure count.
Powering the pain for brick-and-mortar players that have been mainstays in traditional department store settings are fast fashion outlets and online shopping options.
By and large, analysts expect that it could still, in fact, get much worst — with as many as 8,600 more brick-and-mortar stores expected to shutter their doors this year, a figure that would add up to the loss of 147 million square feet of retail space.