Store Closings: 2019 Retail Total Tops 9,300

Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
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US store closures surpassed 9,300 in 2019, while retailers announced more than 4,000 store openings for the year.

Down to the store, Coresight Research reported 9,302 store closures were announced, compared to 5,844 closures for the full year 2018. By week 15 of 2019, year-to-date announced closures had already exceeded the total for all of 2018. One should note, the final number for the year of closures comes in much lower than Coresight’s estimate earlier this year that closures could reach 12,000 by the end of the year.

Additionally, store openings were also up: 4,392 store openings were announced, compared to 3,258 openings in 2018. Aldi, Old Navy, and Five Below opened the most stores in 2019 according to The Motley Fool. 

Some of the most recent store closure news includes RTW Retailwinds, formerly known as New York & Company, which plans to close 27 stores—19 New York & Company stores, four Fashion to Figure stores and four outlet stores—in its fourth quarter ending February 2, 2020. For the full fiscal year, RTW expects to have closed a total of 31 locations and opened seven New York & Company stores and two Fashion to Figure stores. (Fashion to Figure is the company’s plus-size brand.)

“We see stores as an important driver of customer acquisition and engagement, metrics that inform our holistic approach to real estate,” CEO Greg Scott said on a recent earnings call. 

Dressbarn, owned by Ascena Retail Group,announced that it was on track to close its remaining 544 Dressbarn stores by December 31, 2019. The company has sold the intellectual property assets of Dressbarn and has begun the process of transitioning its e-commerce business to a subsidiary of Retail Ecommerce Ventures LLC.


In store openings news, Dollar General was on track to open 975 Stores in 2019 and has 1,000 new stores planned for 2020. Additionally for 2020, the discount retailer has 1,500 store remodeling projects planned, compared to 1,000 in 2019; and will relocate 80 stores. This brings the grand total to nearly 2,600 real estate projects in 2020.

“Investing in our mature store base to incorporate our best and most impactful initiatives is an important component of our real estate strategy, as we continue to leverage recent learnings and format innovation to capture additional market share,” CEO Todd Vasos said on a recent earnings call.

Dollar General also plans to accelerate the rollout of its small-format DGX stores next year, planning to open about 20 new stores to bring the total amount of DGX locations to 30 by end of 2020. The remainder of new store openings will primarily be in the traditional format, the majority of which will include higher capacity coolers.


Discount-store chain Five Below also completed plans to open 150 new stores in fiscal year 2019, according to Coresight. The retailer also announced in November it would shake up its model by selling items with price points as high as $10 in two sections in its stores.

Ulta Beauty opened 73 new stores, remodeled 12 and relocated six during the first three quarters of the fiscal year, Coresight said, part of Ulta’s previously announced plans to open 80 new stores this year. The beauty retailer also made several key senior leadership changes in December, including promoting Prama Bhatt to chief digital officer, as the retailer continues work on its “reinvent digital imperative.”



Bed Bath and Beyond

Bed Bath & Beyond planed to close 60 stores by the end of fiscal 2019, up from previous estimates that it would be closing about 40 locations. The chain’s namesake Bed, Bath & Beyond division was expected to account for about 40 of the closings, with the remaining 20 coming from its other banners, which include Christmas Tree Shops, World Market, and buybuy Baby.


CVS Health said it plans to close another 22 stores in its first quarter of 2020. The move is part of plans to close approximately 75 retail pharmacy stores in total during 2020, the majority of which are nearing the end of their lease term, CVS CFO Eva Boratto said in the company’s recent earnings call. This comes after CVS closed 46 locations in 2019.  


Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group announced that store closing sales would begin at the five flagship Barneys New York stores and at Barneys Warehouse locations. The store closing sales are being conducted in conjunction with Barneys' Chapter 11 filing.