The news media has reported several national store brands and restaurant chains are closing individual locations in response to current social issues such as inflation and Covid-19. The chains have verified those reports.
This article is fully-attributed in name to several entities including Patch.com, CNBC, Reuters, CNN Business, Yahoo Finance, and the Associated Press, among others. Direct links to all listed and attributed sources are included below.
According to Patch.com, the following large national chains closed dozens of their U.S. locations in 2021: Bloomingdales, Disney Store, Goodwill, Macy‘s, Walgreens, and Chuck E. Cheese. Those that folded last year include Fry’s Electronics, and Godiva’s retail outlets. Those chains that Patch lists to be fully closed by the end of 2022 include Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Francescas.
See here for locally-targeted December, 2021 Patch.com article, “10 California Retailers Who Closed Locations This Year,” that also elaborates on said retailers’ current national standings as disclosed above. As to GameStop, a company that appears to be rallying as of mid-2021, the chain nonetheless shuttered hundreds of stores in the prior two years. See here for Reuters report, “Flush From Reddit Rally, GameStop Plots Store Revival.” For now, 2022 remains in question.
For a larger list of well-established chains that closed many locations in 2021, see here for Al.com’s list, “Retail Store Closings 2021: The List of Chains That Closed Stores This Year.” This list further includes American Eagle, Banana Republic and Gap, Christopher & Banks, CVS, DSW, Express, JC Penney, Justice, Starbucks, Children’s Place, and Victoria’s Secret. In most instances, dozens if not hundreds of locations, with more to follow in 2022.
As disclosed in both articles, the Covid-impacted economy overall proved far more deleterious to the health of national brands in 2020 than in 2021.
The issue now becomes to what degree 2022’s rising inflation levels will impact prior plans, as many of the aforementioned chains have already announced specific numbers of closures for the current year.
Of the above companies, as discussed in the articles, many of those listed have filed for some sort of bankruptcy protection. Some, such as Christopher & Banks and JC Penny filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. In response, the former closed 400 stores early in 2021, as the latter closed 170 stores in 2020 and still more in 2021.
See here for December, 2021 blog, “Companies That Have Filed For Bankruptcy Since the Pandemic Began,” from Cheapism.com. For further perspective, CNN Business published, “The 30 Retailers and Restaurant Chains That Filed for Bankruptcy in 2020.” See here. For still more information on the topic, ”The Restaurants Have Filed For Bankruptcy and Many More are At Risk,” was published by Yahoo Finance in January, 2021. See here for article, which includes information on Papa John’s, Dominos Pizza, and others that have so filed.
The 2020 bankruptcy efforts far surpassed those in 2021, primarily as the U.S. largely believed they were on the downslope of a Covid curve in the latter year. As the Omicron mutation was first detected in the last quarter of 2021, however — see here for Wikipedia entry on the history of the current coronavirus scourge, “SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant” — many of the aforementioned chains have rethought their business strategies. Further, rising inflation for many chain businesses have been unsustainable. See here for October, 2021 report, “Inflation Knocks Businesses Off Balance as Recovery Slows,” from the Associated Press.
Expected 2022 Closures
According to a January, 2022 CNBC report, “Bed Bath & Beyond is Closing More Stores in 2022.” The BB&B chain is expected to liquidate and close 37 locations in 19 states by the end of February. CNBC reports further closings of Macy’s and Bloomingdales in 2022, while Mashed.com has published a list of supermarket chains of which they expect many closures this year, or to shutter permanently. Among those in danger include the Kroger chain, and Amazon-owned loss leader Whole Foods.
Walmart, similarly, is expected to continue closing their least-profitable outlets. See here for my NewsBreak article, “Is Your Neighborhood Walmart Planning to Permanently Close its Doors?” and here for another one of my NewsBreak pieces, “National Chain Restaurants Expected to Close in 2022.”
In terms of big brand closures, 2021 was stronger financially than 2020. Less stores closed as a result than in the prior year, though in 2022 with rising inflation many more questions remain. As businesses rethink their strategies moving forward, they also look to subsequent years and a world where the pandemic may continue for longer than anticipated.
As our world continues to reshape, our businesses will remain impacted.
Thank you for reading.