Retail's Hottest Spring Trend? Store Closures

What is arguably among the hottest "trends" in retail right now is far from a positive one for the brick-and-mortar area of the industry.

Taking a look at the latest earnings numbers that were announced by a few major chains yesterday (Feb. 25), CNNMoney finds Best Buy, Kohl's and Sears to be in somewhat of the same, less-than-optimal boat.

Although Best Buy's Q4 2015 results did exceed forecasts, the outlet notes that sales nonetheless declined, and the company is expected a bigger drop in Q1 of this year than was previously expected.

Kohl's, meanwhile, is planning to close 18 stores this year, and added that its sales for the entirety of 2016 could fall from last year.

Sears is likely in the worst shape of all three chains, posits CNNMoney, as the retailer — which also reported another quarterly loss, with sales plummeting at both its namesake stores and at Kmart — has announced that it will be shuttering at least 50 of its locations in 2016.

Given the current retail landscape defined by consumers spending less despite lower gas prices and rising wages, and eCommerce — in particular, Amazon — continuing to eat away at competing company's profits, the CNNMoney story is not optimistic that taking cost-cutting measures will be all that the aforementioned companies need to do in order to turn things around, citing the need to win back customers as an equally — and not necessarily easy-to-achieve — important element.

The outlet goes on to mention Restoration Hardware, Macy's and Gap as also being among retailers whose sales are headed in a downward direction.

If there are silver linings to the current negative trend in retail, CNNMoney finds them in JC Penney, which is experiencing a turnaround (despite also closing some stores); TJX (which owns TJ Maxx and Marshall's), which saw a 6 percent increase in sales in Q4; and Target, as well as Home Depot Lowe's, the latter two of which are benefiting from a strong housing market.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.