The headlines about U.S. retailers aren’t getting better. As National Real Estate Investor notes, retailers are “fighting battles on multiple fronts . . . and in the years ahead we should expect store closings to continue.”
The publication states that “retailers’ coping strategies so far have included closing stores; focusing on smaller-format stores; and using physical stores to drive online sales through allowing customers to examine the merchandise in real life, pick-up online orders and make returns.”
The Deal recently collected data reporting that the number of large-liability retail Chapter 11 filings (at least $250 million in liabilities) nearly doubled in 2016. Its outlook for the coming year wasn’t any more uplifting.
So who will be the next to close stores? National Real Estate Investor compiled a list of chains to be closing multiple stores this year. The list includes J Crew, Guess?, Gymboree, Claire’s, BCBG Maz Azaria, American Eagle, Aéropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch, Wet Seal, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Chico’s, The Limited, Bob’s Stores/Eastern Mountain Sports, Gander Mountain and Payless. The paper didn’t address Sears, whose fate is precarious at best.
Already in the early weeks of 2017 come new casualties. USA Today reported the recent bankruptcy filing of Midwest chain MC Sports, which said it plans to immediately begin liquidation sales at all of its 68 stores. The company, which was founded in 1946 and employs more than 1,300 workers, reported a net loss of $5.4 million on sales of $174.6 million in its most recent fiscal year, according to a court filing.
As USA Today points out, it joins the growing list of sports retailers crushed by the Internet’s rise as a source of specialized sporting goods, including Sports Authority, Golfsmith, Eastern Outfitters and Sport Chalet.
That’s a lot of retail pain, and lots of real estate at stake.