Stores Face the Retail Plague, Close Doors in 2014

This year stirred up the pot of new store closings, not because the retail industry as a whole is in crisis, but because some retailers have found it difficult (or nearly impossible) to keep up in the fast-moving, competitive retailing environment. 
Following the growth of e-commerce and mobile shopping, retailers have been forced to downsize brick-and-mortar locations in an attempt to "be where the customers are." Driving traffic to the web and mobile, consumers have cast their vote for which store experiences have value and which ones can be easily replaced.  
Here, RIS News has culminated a roundup of retailers that are closing stores or going bankrupt. The list was compiled based on recent announcements, same-store sales, debt loads, bankruptcy filings, underperforming stores, and some are just plain practicality. In no particular order, here are the retailers that will shutter stores this year.
Best Buy: Although only two stores are currently slated to close in 2014, the retailer closed 200-250 in 2013 and 50 in 2012. Facing competition from Amazon, same-store sales declined 0.8% in fiscal 2013 and 3.5% in fiscal 2014, alluding that additional closings should be expected.
Coldwater Creek: In April the retailer announced the complete liquidation of the Coldwater Creek chain. The retailer will begin liquidation sales at all 365 of its store locations on May 8, just ahead of Mother's Day, a strong sale holiday for the retailer.
Brookstone: Early last month, the gift and innovative product company announced it would file pre-negotiated Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is also working toward an agreement with Spencer Spirit Holdings to acquire the company and its 240 mall and airport locations. If the acquisition goes through, current employees will remain and stores, catalog, website and wholesale operations will continue under the Brookstone brand.
Barnes & Noble: The bookseller was one of the first retailers to be threatened by Amazon. The retailer hoped that the launch of its e-book business would help circumvent its loss of sales, but much of Amazon's success has come at the expense of Barnes & Noble, forcing it to close 223 stores through 2023.
JCPenney: It was the saga of the year in 2013 and it was hard to keep up with. Now, with CEO Mike Ullman back in the driver seat, the retailer seems to be making improvements – slow and steady. While there's hope it will emerge from the red, the retailer is set to close 33 stores this year.
Staples: Staples is facing increased competition from Office Depot|Max in 2013, even though Staples is still larger in terms of sales. The retailer will close 12% of its North American stores (225 locations) in an attempt to save $500 million through closings and cost cutting measures.

Office Depot: Following its merger with OfficeMax last year, Office Depot has been making an effort to cut costs, resulting in an increase profit forecast and higher sales during its most recent quarter. Despite the improvement, the retailer is continuing its cost-cutting efforts and will close one-quarter of its stores (at least 400 U.S. stores), dropping its total store count to 1,500 by 2016.
RadioShack: After same store sales declined 19% last quarter, its net loss nearly tripled. The electronics retailers will close 1,100 locations (or 20% of its stores), citing the drop on traffic declines and weak sales of mobile devices such as cell phones as the drivers.
Sears: Sears Holdings closed its flagship Chicago store on April 6 and will close additional locations this year (projections are yet to be disclosed). In early 2014, the retailer also announced its plans to spin off the Lands' End business in an ongoing attempt to shed business units as the company is unable to keep stride with its rivals.
Aeropostale: As a result of changing consumer patters, the P.S brand cost Aeropostale approximately $15 million in fiscal 2013, leading the retailer to close all 125 stores this year. The retailer will also close 175 Aeropostale stores over the next several years, and eliminate 100 corporate positions.
Abercrombie & Fitch: Following some heated backlash and sly remarks from its CEO, Abercrombie has recognized that its brand is out of touch with its customers. As the company places more capital into e-commerce and back-office operations, it will close 180 U.S. locations through 2015.
Family Dollar: The discount retailer announced its plans to shutter 370 under-performing locations over the next six months. The company also plans to lower prices of nearly 1,000 items in stores to generate additional sales and traffic.
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