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Journeys — the footwear chain of 1,100 stores that offers shoes, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and children — has joined the growing list of national retailers that are closing a lot of stores in 2023.
In their first quarter 2023 financial report to investors, parent company Genesco said sales were 7% down quarter to quarter, and 14% down when compared to the previous year. So although the company had already announced plans to close 60 stores during the 2024 fiscal year (Feb. 1, 2024 – Jan. 31, 2025), the recent performance has bumped that number up to more than 100.
So, why is Journeys closing? Will we start to see liquidation sales? Should we place Journeys on our bankruptcy and closure watch? Here’s what we know:
Journeys will close more than 100 stores by Jan. 31, 2025.
Look for some more vacancies in your local mall in the coming year; the existing 1,115 Journeys locations — most of which are in malls — will be reduced by about 10% according to parent company Genesco’s current financial plan. Closing these Journeys stores will save up to $40 million in operating expenses, Genesco says.
Since 2017, Genesco has made it a priority to get out of expensive mall leases as mall foot traffic continues to decline. Back then, before Genesco sold off the Lids hat store, the company operated 2,750 total stores — nearly double today’s 1,396 stores.
Note: Although Journeys is spread throughout the continental U.S., Hawaii, and Puerto Rico, the highest concentration of stores is in Texas and the Northeast.
They’re in the midst of opening 25 pilot stores outside of malls.
Journeys’ long-term strategy to get out of traditional malls, when possible, has led them to a new pilot project, where they’re testing new non-mall stores. In their Q1 earnings report, Journeys execs said that they’ve opened the new-look stores in 13 locations, and are encouraged by early results. Journeys is planning to open another dozen of these stores, bringing the pilot project to 25 locations.
Journeys frequently opens stores while closing others. During the 2021 fiscal year, they opened 22 stores and closed 27; in 2022, they opened 10 and closed 25. The 100 closings will far outnumber any openings Journeys could have during 2024, though.
Expect liquidation sales to begin in mid-2024, wrapping up before Black Friday.
Genesco hasn’t officially announced which Journeys stores they’ll be closing, so the only thing we know is that all 100+ stores will be closed by the end of the fiscal year 2024. And unless they push the timetable up significantly due to a changing financial outlook, Genesco will probably begin closures in late summer/early fall, wrapping up before Black Friday to focus the company’s retail strategy on the remaining stores.
Although liquidation sales aren’t a guarantee — Journeys may simply shift product to other stores — we expect closeout sales based on what other retailers have done.
Expect liquidation sales to last 6-8 weeks, with discounts starting at 10% off, and increasing by 10% each week until the stores close.
Stay tuned; you’ll want to read up on everything you need to know about liquidation sales.