Store Closures Saw an All-Time High in 2019

Traditional retail experienced turbulence this year.

Fashion 
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Retail and technology research firm Coresight recently reported that retail store closures hit an all-time high in 2019. As of this month, US-based retailers clocked 9,302 store closings, following a much lower 8,000 store closings just two years ago in 2017. Additionally, there were 4,930 more store closings than openings this year.

Quartz reports that a large chunk of closings come from Payless alone. Earlier this year the budget shoe company announced it would be shutting down all 2,100 of its US stores following its emergence from bankruptcy. Other companies, such as Ascena Retail Group (Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Dress Barn, etc.) and Gymboree also announced major store closures. Not to mention luxury retailer Barneys‘ store closures happening in the near future following its sale to Authentic Brands.

Many companies who have shut the doors to multiple stores this year unfortunately didn’t adjust to the changing digital landscape. Underdeveloped ecommerce platforms and systems forced many to rely on underperforming physical storefronts – oftentimes situated in suburban malls. Some retailers found room to expand their physical presences this year. Most notably, Dollar General with 975, Dollar Tree with 348 and Family Dollar with 202 were the top three companies when it comes to number of new store openings in 2019.

Traditional retail may be suffering, but design firm frog predicts an increase in direct-to-consumer storefronts in 2020, as companies have found that bringing their successful digital startup ideas into the physical world via pop-up shops does pay off. StockX was a prime example of this shift, as the online platform tested out various physical outposts this year, including a now-permanent store in NYC and a “Drop-Off” pop-up in London.

Elsewhere in business, Jordan Brand has recorded its first billion-dollar-quarter.

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