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  • List of retailers affected by the retail apocalypse

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    The following retailers have all either closed or announced plans to close large numbers of retail locations during the time period known as the retail apocalypse and in some cases gone out of business entirely.

  • Closeout (sale)

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    Liquidation sale at Circuit City in Raleigh, North Carolina in February, 2009 Woolworths in Keswick on its final day of trading in December 2008 A closeout or clearance sale is a discount sale of inventory either by retail or wholesale. It may be that a product is not selling well, or that the retailer is closing because of relocation, a fire (a fire sale), over-ordering, or especially because of bankruptcy. In the latter case, it is usually known as a going-out-of-business sale or liquidation sale, and is part of the process of liquidation. A hail sale is a closeout at a car dealership after hail damage. A store that is closing will often advertise to customers their last chance to buy. However, often closures are from companies that can't sell their inventory, inventors whose ideas were not marketable, or businesses needing fast incoming cashflow to pay debts such as payroll or rent. A closeout store is a retailer specializing in buying closeout items wholesale from others and selling them at low prices.

  • Retail apocalypse

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    Entrance to former Sears at Hudson Valley Mall, outside Kingston, New York, in the town of Ulster, closed in 2018. It had been the mall's last anchor store The retail apocalypse is the closing of a large number of North American brick-and-mortar retail stores, especially those of large chains, starting in 2010 and continuing through 2018. Over 12,000 physical stores have been closed, due to factors such as over-expansion of malls, rising rents, bankruptcies of leveraged buyouts, low quarterly profits outside holiday binge spending, delayed effects of the Great Recession, and changes in spending habits. North American consumers have shifted their purchasing habits due to various factors, including experience-spending versus material goods and homes, casual fashion in relaxed dress codes, as well as the rise of e-commerce, mostly in the form of competition from juggernaut companies such as Amazon.com and Walmart. Major department stores such as J. C. Penney, Macy's, Sears, and Kmart have announced hundreds of store closures, and well-known apparel brands such as J. Crew and Ralph Lauren are unprofitable. Of the 1,200 shopping malls across the US, 50% are expected to close by 2023. More than 12,000 stores are expected to close in 2018, and only 4,000 of them have been planned by several retailers. Several retailers such as Toys "R" Us and The Bon-Ton have liquidated and closed all their stores. Recent research from IHL Group shows a net increase of more than 2,000 store openings by the end of 2018. IHL also found that for every retailer closing stores, two are adding stores, and two-thirds of the store closings are tied to just 16 stores. The retail apocalypse phenomenon is related to the middle-class squeeze, in which consumers experience a decrease in income while costs increase for education, healthcare, and housing. Bloomberg stated that the cause of the retail apocalypse "isn't as simple as Amazon.com Inc. taking market share or twenty-somethings spending more on experiences than things. The root cause is that many of these long-standing chains are overloaded with debt—often from leveraged buyouts led by private equity firms." The most productive retailers in the United States during the retail apocalypse are Walmart and Target, some regional department store chains (e.g., Belk, Boscov's, Boyd's, Dillard's, and Von Maur), the low-cost "fast-fashion" brands (e.g., Zara, Uniqlo, Cotton On, Forever 21, and H&M), off-price department stores (Ross Stores and DD's Discounts, Marshalls and Burlington) and dollar stores (e.g., Dollar General and Family Dollar). At least one private equity firm, Sycamore Partners, has made money buying assets from brick-and-mortar chains during the retail apocalypse. Pop-up retail, including seasonal retailers such as Spirit Halloween, have become a common factor during the retail apocalypse operating temporarily in vacant spots after companies go out of business, or store closings, as a result of it. Accompanying the store closings were, in many cases, significant declines in the stock prices of publicly traded retail companies.

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