The Retail Apocalypse Continues

Retail store with signs. Entire store on sale. Everything 70% - 80%. Nothing held back. Everything must go.

Photo by ChicagoPhotographer/

In the world of business,

it turns out last year’s retail apocalypse was just a warm up show for the real thing. According to Coresite Research, up to 25,000 U.S. stores could close this year. That’s more than double 2019’s record. 4,005 stores are already planning to close; apparel and department stores are especially vulnerable. 55-60% of the closures could be in malls. Neiman Marcus, J. C. Penney, Tuesday Morning and J. Crew are all among the early bankruptcy casualties.  There’s expected to me more including the dreaded chapter 7.

The coronavirus pandemic accelerated the trends already pushing retailers to the brink along with unstable debt loads, and e-commerce. Many were already competing with online retailers and the pandemic pushed people even further into online sales.

Future implications on businesses

An e-marketer forecast predicts retail sales will fall more than 10% this year and take until late 2022 to rebound. Food, beverage, health and beauty should be able to escape the worst of all of this. In the big picture, there are vacant storefronts and landlords scrambling for new tenants. Many stores are moving away from brick and mortar. Co-tenancy clauses which allow tenants to pay lower rents or break their leases if the anchor tenant leaves could actually put even more stress on the malls. What a time to be in commercial real estate.

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