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Retail Passes a Key Benchmark. Not the Good Kind.

U.S. retailers have announced more store closures so far this year (5,994) than they did in the entirety of 2018 (5,864), Coresight Research reports. We’ll save you a calendar check: It’s April 13.
Two mall mainstays have accounted for more than half of the yellow tape:

  • Payless ShoeSource said it will close all 2,500 of its U.S. stores when it filed for bankruptcy in February.
  • Gymboree announced closings of 800 stores when it, too, filed for bankruptcy in January.
Curious about the record? It was set in 2017, when nearly 8,000 retail store closures were announced.

But records are made to be broken

In a report this week, UBS estimated that 75,000 stores selling furniture, electronics, and clothing will close by 2026—nearly 11,000/year. The projection doesn’t account for a recession or a dramatic surge in nudist living: It’s a result of growth in consumer spending online.
  • Online shopping is expected to comprise 25% of total U.S. retail sales in 2026, up from 16% of overall sales currently.
  • For every 1% increase in online penetration, 8,000-8,500 stores will be forced to close.

It’s the weekend, so let’s talk about store openings

After all, there have been 2,641 announced so far this year, per Coresight. So what types of retailers are braving the apocalyptic conditions we just described?
  • Discount chains, including Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and TJ Maxx.
  • Internet retailers, such as Casper and Warby Parker. These stores, which litter a few square blocks of SoHo, serve as showrooms first and functional places to shop second
  • Grocers. Openings in the sector were up 29.4% in 2018, JLL said. H/t to the surging Publix, supermarket choice of Florida Man.
Bottom line: Brick-and-mortar retail isn’t dying. But it’s clear there’s just too much of it given our changing shopping habits.
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  1. Online shopping is just so much easier and more accessible that shopping in store. I always chose to do my shopping online if I can. I don't like to leave my house.

  2. I always said this was coming! With online sales and prices constantly getting cheaper and those companies in China who are now selling their cheap clothes all of the good and quality stores are going to go out.

  3. It's sad to say but the internet will only become more integrated into all of our lives; therefore, online shopping will become easier and more accessible to everyone.