The new year has not been kind to retail stores around the country, as the trend of accelerating store closings continues, according to a report by Yahoo! Finance.
Macy's, JCPenney, Papyrus, Express and Pier 1 Imports, among other retailers, have reported 1,218 closings this year already, according to data from global marketing research firm Coresight Research.
Last year, 9,200 stores closed, including locations like Payless ShoeSource, Fred's, Gymboree and Charlotte Russe. There were also widespread closures by Family Dollar, Forever 21, Charming Charlie, Sears, Kmart, A.C. Moore and GameStop.
This will be the fourth year in a row that retailers will shutter 100 million square feet of space, which equals about 562 Walmart supercenters.
"This year will generally be more of the same," said Robin Trantham, a consultant for real estate data tracker CoStar. "We expect many companies – and many sizable companies – to announce closures."
While the beginning of the year normally sees a number of closures after the holiday season, the sheer number and breadth signify a problem that goes deeper than business as usual.
For example, Pier 1 Imports will close almost half of its stores, up to 450 locations. Schurman Retail Group is closing 246 stores, which includes Papyrus and American Greetings. Express, a fashion retailer, will close 91 stores, including 31 by the end of this month and 35 by the end of January next year. Macy’s is closing 29 locations and JCPenney is closing six. Bed Bath & Beyond will shutter 60 stores as well.
The new year has also seen a decline in foot traffic. It fell 4.9 percent this week compared to the same period last year – and it was already down 1.4 percent from the previous week.
Morgan Stanley Research Analyst Kimberly Greenberger said that the second half of 2020 is expected to be especially challenging with the looming election, which could spook spenders.