HUNDREDS of stores have recently closed for good amid a trend that experts have called the retail apocalypse.
Many shoppers are turning away from brick-and-mortar stores as they experience high inflation and price hikes.
Online shopping has also risen in popularity, eating away a portion of consumers that originally made their purchases in stores.
This spring, several retailers have announced their upcoming closures and the shutdowns are sure to have ripple effects within the communities where the stores are located.
The US Sun compiled the full list of closures to look out for.
1. J. CREW
Last week, J. Crew shuttered a location in Sacramento, California at the Arden Fair mall.
The closure, which happened officially on March 26, was actually attributed to J. Crew’s need for future growth.
A spokesperson said the store closed to allow the company to “better support our broader omnichannel strategy,” according to the Sacramento Business Journal.
Nathan Spradlin, Arden Fair’s marketing director, told the local outlet the reason for the closure was due to a nearby retailer’s need to expand, and that the mall would see J. Crew back in the future.
There are 124 J. Crew stores operating across the US, according to the company’s website.
Another fashion retailer said goodbye to customers on March 26.
Buckle is a popular clothing store, but shoppers in Charlotte, North Carolina had to part ways with the brand permanently last week.
The location was inside the Northlake Mall, and it is unclear why Buckle opted to shutter this location.
Despite being a massive discount retail chain, Walmart has not been unscathed by the retail apocalypse either.
Walmart operates 5,000 stores across the country, but the company announced some would be closing after they failed to meet “financial expectations.”
In March alone, six were shuttered for good, leaving some shoppers without access to lower-cost groceries.
And the shutdowns will continue in April.
The Brooklyn Center Walmart in Minnesota will officially close its doors on April 21 due to “poor performance.”
Earlier this year, grocery competitors Aldi and Walgreens also shut down stores in Minneapolis.
The closures are causing many residents to travel further to find cheap groceries, a problem that is only worsening as other retailers look to close up shops.
“Everything is closing, so now it’s like I’ve got to go further and further out to get the basic necessities,” a Minneapolis shopper named Felicia Robinson told CBS News.
“Aldi’s is closed too, so everything is getting shut down in this community. So it’s like where are people supposed to go?”
The city’s own manager called the decision for Walmart to shut down devastating.
“This is devastating and a major economic loss to our region because Walmart has served the Brooklyn Center community since 2012,” Reginald Edwards told Bring Me The News.
“Our residents have relied on the convenience of the location. While this presents a significant challenge to the city, we are committed to rebounding and building a stronger local economy.”
Walmart said all 350 of the store’s staff members can relocate to different locations.
Another Walmart location in South Bend, Indiana will be closing the same day.
Meanwhile, Walmart stores in Louisville, Kentucky and Forest Park, Ohio are shuttering April 22.
Another fashion brand has fallen victim to the retail apocalypse, and for Gap, it’s been a long time coming.
Most recently, the company announced it would be closing a store in Providence, Rhode Island.
Shoppers are encouraged to buy inventory while it lasts, according to GoLocal Prov.
The clothing company owns Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta but has confirmed plans to close around 50 stores in the coming months.
The gap reported net losses of $273million for its most recent quarter, which ended on January 28.
Net sales for this period were also down, totaling $4.24 billion, which decreased by six percent compared to last year.
In-store and online sales both dwindled compared to the prior year.
The retail giant’s Gap stores reported net sales of $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022 – down nine percent compared to 2021.
5. BED BATH & BEYOND
Bed Bath & Beyond has been in a race to save itself from bankruptcy – the store has said during this process it will be closing 400 plus stores for good.
Many of these locations are set to say goodbye this spring, some by the end of April.
The retailer initially announced that only around 150 stores would be closing, but amid the looming threat of bankruptcy that number grew.
Last year, the home goods store operated more than 950 units nationwide.
A spokesperson previously told The US Sun: “We are moving expeditiously toward a smaller and more profitable store footprint and omni-always model.”
WHICH STORE WILL REPLACE THEM?
As shopper demand plummets in the post-pandemic due to high inflation and greater reliability on e-commerce, thousands more retail closures are predicted to ravage the sector this year.
Some reports estimate there will be 1,400 store closures across the country in 2023 alone.
Major retailers already closed a whopping 12,000 stores in 2020 and over 9,300 stores shuttered in 2019, according to The Week.
However, not all are struggling – in fact many are slated for growth.
These are the chains that will likely take advantage of Walmart and Bed Bath & Beyond’s old space in the months after their goodbyes.
Some of the notable chains to jump on these opportunities have included TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, and Ross.
And retail experts are predicting other budget chains like Five Below, Nordstrom Rack, and Planet Fitness will be next to set up shops in some of the shuttered locations.
Planet Fitness in particular has been in the fast lane of growth, opening about 200 new gyms a year.
“Bed Bath and Beyond sites are interesting to us, and we are exploring available opportunities with our franchisees,” a spokesperson told CNN.
Meanwhile Burlington, Ross, and Nordstrom Rack are in conversations with landlords about taking over other Bed Bath & Beyond space.
These chains are likely to flourish due to their ability to withstand price pressures.
Americans have been increasingly turning toward low-cost stores to make their dollar stretch more on everyday purchases.
A major fashion store is offering its shoppers 40 percent off on its closing sales.
Plus, here’s the full list of stores closing in April.