Will more stores close in 2018? No comeback for traditional retailers

Don’t expect 2018 to be the comeback year for traditional retailers.

In the first few months of the year, consumers will likely see dozens of retailers shutter stores and file for bankruptcy as the fourth fiscal quarter comes to a close. More than 12,000 stores are expected to close in 2018 — up from roughly 9,000 in 2017, according to Cushman & Wakefield, a marketing and data analysis firm.

“I think the early part of next year will be pretty bad … I think it will be tough,” Charlie O’Shea, Moody’s lead retail analyst, said.

The retail industry, which supports one in four American jobs, is undergoing major changes as consumers shift their focus to online shopping. Dozens of retailers filed for bankruptcy in 2017, and thousands of store locations closed across the U.S.

» MUST-READ NEWS: Sears Holdings to close 5 more Kmart stores in Ohio this month

Retailers that announced store closures or bankruptcies in 2017 include: Charming Charlie, The Limited, Gymboree, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Wet Seal, RadioShack, hhgregg, Gander Mountain, MC Sports, Aerosoles, Payless, Kmart and Sears. Other retailers that closed stores this year include: J.Crew, Vitamin World, Gap, Perfumania, Teavana, True Religion, Michael Kors, Bebe Stores, Rue21, Abercrombie & Fitch, Guess, Crocs and Family Christian.

There are about 15 retailers that are at a higher risk of filing for bankruptcy this year, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Some of the major retailers that are at risk include: The Bon-Ton Stores, Bebe Stores Inc., Stein Mart Inc., Sears Holdings, Sun Pacific Holding Corp., and Burlington Stores Inc.

» MUST-READ NEWS: Clothing retailer to close dozens of stores this month

Southwest Ohio hasn’t been hit hard by the “retail apocalypse” as many large stores remain popular with customers.

Gordon Gough, CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, said there’s plenty of opportunities for stores to carve out a niche to lure in consumers.

“There’s no retail apocalypse,” said Gordon Gough, CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. “You’re seeing a transformation in the retail industry.”

» List: Retailers that closed stores in 2017

All Kmart stores have closed in the Dayton region, and another five Kmart stores will close in Ohio this month. Several Sears stores are still open in the region. Local malls have had national retailers like The Limited and Rainbow close locations, and that number is likely to increase in the next few months.

Sears Holdings, which owns Kmart and Sears stores, informed associates that another 45 Kmart stores and 18 Sears stores will close in late January. Five Kmart locations in Ohio were identified as impacted stores. No Sears locations in Ohio were impacted by this round of closures. Sears Holdings already closed more than 350 stores in 2017.

The impacted Ohio stores are located in St. Mary’s, Cleveland, Oregon, Austintown and Hillsboro.

“We will continue to close some unprofitable stores as we transform our business model so that our physical store footprint and our digital capabilities match the needs and preferences of our members,” the company said in a statement.


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