The coronavirus outbreak has shut down countless stores and restaurants in recent days, and while most of these closures are thought to be temporary, there’s good reason to believe some retail chains won’t return when stores reopen.
Here’s the list of stores we think will be finished off by the coronavirus shutdown:
1. Pier 1 Imports, 950 locations
This was on our list earlier in the pandemic — and was on our list of stores on bankruptcy watch last year.
In late February, right before the coronavirus outbreak really hit the U.S., Pier 1 announced it was bankrupt and would close 450 stores — nearly half of their 950 locations — this year. Then coronavirus hit, and Pier 1 now says they won’t reopen AT ALL.
This is the first store on the list that, unfortunately, seems to have succumbed to coronavirus. Stay tuned for liquidation sales, which are expected to take place this summer.
2. Neiman Marcus, 43 locations
Luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus has filed for bankruptcy. The company was already struggling, but the coronavirus outbreak has accelerated its troubles as online sales have been a fraction of in-store purchases. Most of their 14,000 employees have been furloughed.
While bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily mean a store won’t reopen, East Coast sporting goods store Modell’s filed bankruptcy last March and is currently liquidating all of their stores.
2. JCPenney, 859 locations
We’ve been watching JCPenney’s decline over the years. They shut nearly 138 stores in 2017, 8 stores in 2018, nearly 30 in 2019, and already had plans to close six stores and a call center in 2020 — before coronavirus hit.
Now they’ve filed bankruptcy, and are now expected to close more than 200 stores this year.
4. GameStop, 6,600 locations
In 2019, GameStop closed 200 stores as a result of not being able to compete with digital games and online stores. With social distance guidelines in place, customers are going to be more apt to buy games digitally, shutting out GameStop.
5. GNC, 4,700 locations
They’ve been losing money and closing stores for years, most recently announcing they’d be closing 900 locations by the end of 2020. That’s almost 20% of their total locations. And that was before coronavirus.
GNC’s large presence in China has taken a hit when quarantine hit there, and now the company has closed all of its U.S. stores — while introducing curbside pickup. They’re trying to position themselves as a leader in immune health. Will it work?
6. Gap, 3,727 locations
While its sister company Old Navy has been surging, Gap’s financial situation has been in decline for the last five years or so.
In January, Gap closed 40 stores and announced a plan to shut 230 stores in 2020-2021. Most factory and outlet stores have already closed, and it’s only a matter of time before Gap Inc. plans to walk away from its flagship stores entirely, instead focusing on Old Navy and Athleta.
7. Office Depot, 1,378 locations
Office Depot may survive as a company, but their stores may not. Late last year the company announced it would close 90 of its stores in 2020/2021, but that was before coronavirus.
Now, in order to survive, they’re planning to lay off more than 13,000 people, and close an unspecified number of stores between now and 2023.
Continued turmoil could end retail locations, forcing the company to rely solely on their business-to-business services, which they’ve been building over the last few years.
8. Victoria’s Secret, 923 locations
We’ve been watching the steady decline of Victoria’s Secret over the last couple of years, and the signs haven’t been good. Rapidly declining stock, several rounds of store closures, and a recent sale have all pointed to the lingerie seller’s demise. It may not be long before liquidators are called in.
9. Macy’s, 871 locations
Macy’s was one of the last department stores to close to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Macy’s is having to now rely on a lackluster online presence to stay afloat. They announced in early February that 100 of its stores would be closing in 2020. That number is sure to go up.
10. Forever 21, 794 locations
Forever 21 declared Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in October 2019, and they were already planning to close 111 stores in Asia, UK, and the U.S. in 2020 — 14% of its total stores. The bleeding will only intensify after a catastrophic first quarter of 2020.
11. Sears, 540 locations
Sears has been in a revenue freefall for the last decade. They’ve cut costs, sold assets, closed stores, and gone through rounds of layoffs. In late 2018, Sears filed bankruptcy, and they just sold off their top-notch logistics and delivery company to Costco for $1 billion. It’s felt like any more adversity and the chain would go for good.
12. Lord & Taylor, 38 locations
The nearly 200-year-old high-end department store has been in trouble in recent years, and it seems like the coronavirus outbreak might be too much for them. They’re reportedly waiting until they can safely reopen to file bankruptcy and hold liquidation sales.
ALSO: Non-retailers on bankruptcy watch
- 24-Hour Fitness is considering bankruptcy, according to reports this week, as gyms remain closed amidst coronavirus.
- Gold’s Gym is in a similar spot, and already has made the decision to permanently close 30 of its 700 locations.
- AMC Theaters narrowly avoided bankruptcy by raising half a billion dollars in new loans from investors, but will it be enough long-term?
- AMC rival Cinemark is looking to raise $250 million to survive until its July 1 reopening target. its staff have been furloughed or laid off.