4 Things You Should Know About The Ongoing Retail Apocalypse

Image courtesy of Jason Mrachina

To say that the retail industry has been having a tough go of it in 2017 would be a huge understatement, what with scores of retailers shuttering stores or closing up completely. It’s already been a record-setting year for retail bankruptcies, and it’s not even halfway done. Sadly, the second half of 2017 doesn’t look any better.

With a number of retailers’ futures currently hanging in the balance — we’re looking at you Sears and Gymboree — now might be a good time to recap just how horrible the first few months of 2017 have really been for the industry.

The Dallas Morning News put the sectors’ bankruptcies, closings, and other not-so-great-for-business revelations. Here are the four things you should know about retail today.

1. Thousands of Newly Vacant Stores: So far this year retailers have closed 5,337 stores, according to the Dallas Morning News. Whether it’s RadioShack shutting down 552 stores or Luke’s Locker only trimming four locations, they add up.

Still, as some retailer have closed stores through bankruptcy, others have come to their rescue, keeping handfuls open.

For instance, just this month Camping World stepped in to purchase the remains of Gander Mountain, which filed for bankruptcy in March. In this case, Camping World’s CEO Marcus Lemonis created a list on Twitter sharing that 63 Gander locations would stay in operation.

2. It’s Going To Get Worse: Credit Suisse predicts that, at the rate things are currently going, 2017 will see more stores going out of business than did during the Great Recession, reports the Dallas Morning News.

In fact, the investment firm estimates that 8,640 stores will close before the year is over. The estimate echoes research firm Green Street Advisors’ report earlier this week that department store closures are just getting started.

It’s also important to know that while many retailers have already closed dozens of stores this year, some — like Macy’s — announced closings that haven’t yet occurred.

Back in Aug. 2016, the department store said it would close 100 stores in 2017; so far it has released a list of 68 locations that have closed or will close in the first half of the year.

3. Record Pace: As we’ve previously reported the number of bankruptcies this year has already surpassed the number filed in 2016.

Gordmans, hhgregg, RadioShack, Gander Mountain, BCBG Max Azria, MC Sports, Eastern Outfitters, Wet Seal, Payless, and The Limited have all filed for bankruptcy in just the first few months of 2017. Joining that list just this week is rue21, which previously announced the closure of 400 stores.

The roster of bankruptcies likely won’t end soon, either, as children’s retailer Gymboree has been rumored to be preparing a filing of its own for the past month.

4. Not All Bad News: According to The News, despite the high number of closures and bankruptcies, consumers are still spending money — just not at the mall.

Last month, the Commerce Department released its March sales report, and while retail sales declined overall for the second month in a row, some department stores, as well as building material retailers and health and personal care stores, saw slight increases.

Many retailers — such as JCPenney and Target — appear to be taking the retail industry’s woes to heart, revealing plans to bring in customers through new initiatives like appliance sales and revamped or new brands.