Retail's Perfect Storm Closes 10,000 Stores

Massive store closings will continue throughout 2009 according to a report by consulting firm Grant Thornton. In the report, "Reviving Retail," the authors cite the convergence of a lack of liquidity, inability to use real estate as leverage, and an overall reduction in consumer spending as creating a perfect storm for generating store closures. The report pinpoints clothing, electronics, food-and-beverage and department stores as the retailers most likely to report a surge of store closings this year.

"Falling sales hit all regions of the country and nearly all retail sectors, challenging stores and pushing many to the brink of failure," says Marti Kopacz, Grant Thornton's corporate advisory and restructuring services (CARS) national managing principal, in the report. "Either retailers are contemplating bankruptcy, have already declared it or are announcing significant reductions."

For a complete look at store closings this year see stories listed below. Here is a roundup of recent store closing announcements from Blockbuster, Sears, Ann Taylor and more.

Ann Taylor: The women's apparel chain has increased the number of stores it will close this year to 163 from 117 as part of its cost-cutting program to save $125 million over the three years ending in January 2011.

Bashas: The supermarket chain plans to close 14 stores in Arizona by October 10, 2009 as part of its Chapter 11 reorganization.

Big 10 Tires: The chain has closed 32 of its 104 stores in GA, FL, and AL.
The retailer originally announced chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 2, 2009 and at the time had no intention to close stores.

Blockbuster: According to Blockbuster's CEO James Keyes, the movie-rental chain may be more aggressive in closing stores as it deploys as many as 10,000 rental kiosks by mid-2010. The company had more than 7,100 stores at the end of its second quarter and plans to close about 300 stores this year.

Sears: During its most recent quarter, the department store announced 28 store closures. However, analysts estimate the retailer will close as many 400 or more of its roughly 3,900 stores.

Wet Seal: The apparel chain plans to close 16 Wet Seal and Arden B stores. The retailer, which recently experienced an 11.9 percent decline in comparable store sales, said that the retail environment has remained challenging and highly promotional in its latest financial report.

Zale: The jewelry chain closed 118 underperforming stores in its fourth quarter, which ended July 31, 2009. Year-to-date for 2009, Zale has shut down 191 locations. Of the closings, 31 were kiosks and 160 were retail stores.

For more on retail store closings, see:

Store Closings and Bankruptcy Update 

Market Gyrations Force 10 More Store Closings

Store Closings from 15 More Retailers

To view the Reviving Retail report, click here:
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