Famous Brands That Are Closing Their Stores in 2019
While technology advances, it’s harder for retailers to maintain their stores open because people are turning to online shopping all the time. There’s fierce competition on the web, and often, some have found better deals. Therefore, even the most popular stores in America might be closing several locations this 2019 because the 2018 holiday was such a letdown. You might remember that Toys ‘R Us recently went out of business, and some of your other favorites could be closing soon. Let’s find out more!
This store was once linked to Wal-Mart and Target as the “big 3” companies in the U.S. Sadly, it has become harder to see it around the country. In 2018, they closed 150 locations, and they are expected to close 50 more in 2019. K-Mart is owned by Sears, which is also having a rough time as they already filed for bankruptcy. Therefore, the parent company clearly does not have the capital to invest in their store, and they have a huge opponent: Dollar Stores.
S.S. Kresge was the founder of the original store that would later be renamed K-Mart. He invested his hard-earned money into a five-and-dime store in Memphis, Tennessee after meeting Frank Winfield Woolworth, who was a traveling salesman. Kresge owned the first store with John McCrory, and they later opened a second location in Detroit. After two years, he gave his share of the Memphis location to McCrory and completely owned the Detroit one. Soon enough he formed the Kregs & Wilson Company with his brother-in-law, Charles J. Wilson.
Unfortunately, last February, this store announced that they would be closing 2,000 locations in American. Some would be permanently closed in March 2019, and some remained opened while they sold their entire stock until May. Sadly, their online website will also disappear for American clients, but there’s a silver lining. The brand is not going to end completely. Some international establishments will still go on, at least for the moment.
The company is still trying to keep going. They filed for bankruptcy and closed some locations more than 10 years ago. They restructured a bunch of things, but clearly, it didn’t work out as they wanted. Payless goes back to the 60s when Volume Shoe bought the Hill Brothers Show Company in Kansas City, and they renamed all 25 original stores to “Payless”. In the 70s, Volume Shoe bought the other Hill Brother Shoe Store franchise that was located in St. Louis.
This store was famous among young teens because you could get cheap and pretty heels as well as crop tops. Unfortunately, they decided to close all locations this year. Many young ladies have taken their first jobs here, and they are terminating their 500 establishments after liquidating the merchandise. According to Grit Daily, "The closing of Charlotte Russe means the loss of nearly 8,700 jobs, and only 1,400 of those were part-time." That’s the worst part of any company going out of business.
Charlotte Russe was created in 1975 by Daniel Lawrence and his 2 siblings who worked in their family’s clothing store in New York. The brothers made Lawrence Merchandising Corp. in California, and they built the first Charlotte Russe place in San Diego. Over the course of the 70s and 80s, they opened many other shops. In 1996, their company was bought by an investment firm called SKM, who expanded the brand nationwide.
Anyone who owns a Bendel’s bag needs to preserve it because this iconic shop from New York closed in January 2019. It was constantly featured in ‘Sex and the City’. It’s expected that the items will rise in demand from collectors, and we wonder what will happen to actress Blake Lively, who was a big admirer of the brand. We hope she bought as many items as she could, and they will definitely be more valuable in the future.
Henri Willis Bendel was born in Louisiana, but he moved to New York and opened his first store in Greenwich Village in 1895. In 1907, he had the brown-and-white striped boxes that people have always associated with the clothing shop. He was also the first retailer to sell Coco Chanel clothes in America. When he died in 1936, his nephew was named the president and worked until retiring in 1954. Of course, he first founded Belgian Shoes and died in 1997.
ABERCROMBIE & FITCH
Unfortunately, everyone who was a hard fan of this company will have a hard time buying their clothes, at least, at the mall. Abercrombie said that they would close 40 stores this year, but it has already shut down 500 locations over the past years. Luckily, this is not a Payless situation. They are just making some changes because it’s cheaper to just sell online. They are working on making smaller stores in malls and also advertising their new designer, Aaron Levine, hoping to revitalize the brand.
This company was created in 1892 in New York City by David T. Abercrombie as an outfitter for outdoorsy men. Ezra Fitch was a lawyer and real estate developer who loved the company. He invested a lot of money in 1900. They went corporate in 1904 and called it “Abercrombie & Fitch Co.”. The lawyer ended up buying Abercrombie’s shares and was the only owner from 1907 until 1928.
This company also owns the Crazy 8 locations, and they are completely closing down as they have filed for bankruptcy twice. If you loved this chain, you might want to get your kids all the liquidation merchandise quickly because, by the end of 2019, there won’t be any more left. Meanwhile, this company also has the Janie and Jack brand, but they are trying to sell it in order to save it. After the culture of going to the mall rose in the 80s, Gymboree was a staple of many locations.
In 1986, they opened many chain clothing stores mainly veered towards children from newborns to size ten kids. The brand has been reorganized many times, and they once had 630 Gymboree Retail, 150 Gymboree Outlet, 130 Janie & Jack, and 290 Crazy 8 stores in America alone. According to some sources, Janie and Jack was sold to Gap, Inc.
Shopko was depicted as “department store of rural America”, but things will change this year. This chain of 300 stores across the country included retail and even healthcare services. Sadly, they are going out of business this 2019. Just like other many stores that have been going belly up lately, the boom of online sells was too much for Shopko. Their locations were featured in 24 American states, but all of them will close soon.
The company was founded by pharmacist James Ruben and other investors in the 1960s. They put together $1 million to create a department store in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was initially called “Shopco”, but by the time the first shop opened, they had changed it to “Shopko”. It was the first chain to offer pharmacy and eye care in a store. In the 70s, they expanded by opening more shops and even merging with SuperValu of Minneapolis.
38. VICTORIA'S SECRET
This is one of the most popular lingerie shops in the world, but they announced last year that they would be closing around 50 locations in the U.S. Right now, people are looking for comfortable underwear such as Savage X and ThirdLove, instead of see-through, impractical ensembles. Additionally, the company is under scandal because, during the 2018 Victoria Secret fashion show, the chief marketing officer said that they won’t include plus-size or trans models. Apparently, those women don’t represent the brand’s mission of making a “fantasy”.
However, everyone wears underwear. Furthermore, they also had a campaign titled “Perfect Body” where the models were skinny and tall. People were upset that they expected everyone to look like that. Meanwhile, Victoria’s Secret was created by couple Roy and Gaye Raymond in San Francisco in 1977. The idea came when Raymond had to shop for his wife’s lingerie at a regular store. He had an interview with Newsweek about it and said, "When I tried to buy lingerie for my wife, I was faced with racks of terry-cloth robes and ugly floral-print nylon nightgowns, and I always had the feeling the department store saleswomen thought I was an unwelcome intruder."
Elon Musk famously founded Tesla Motors, and the company recently said that they would focus on web sales alone. Therefore, the Tesla showrooms will be closed, but the staff had been told that they would be kept on the payroll. They started closing shops on March 3, 2019, and more are to come during the remainder of the year. Some text drives can still be practiced at operating stores or rescheduled to other locations. Meanwhile, it’s unlikely that this decision will actually affect the company, as last year, it was the best plug-in electric car brand in the world.
The company went corporate in 2003 thanks to Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. They were inspired after GM recalled their EV1 electric cars that same year and discarded them. Musk spearheaded the funding for the Series A round in 2004 and became chairman of the board. The main mission of Tesla was to take electric vehicles further, starting with expensive sports cars and then moving on to simple, affordable models.
This famous clothing store has decided to close around 50 of their locations, and they also announced their split from Old Navy. Old Navy appeared in the 90s, whereas Gap is from the 60s. Gap also owns Banana Republic, and they are staying with them. Sadly, Gap will start closing stores in malls and places where there are fewer sales and people around. Meanwhile, the rest of the shops will have better customer experiences in order to meet modern needs.
Gap’s story goes back to 1969 when Don Fisher was inspired by the success of “The Tower of Shoes”, a retailer that claimed to have everything regardless of brand, style or size. Everything was to be found there. Fisher was also good friends with Walter “Wally” Haas Jr., the president of Levi Strauss & Co. He proposed that they applied that same model to Levi products because other stores like Macy’s were also out of the people’s favorite jeans. Haas introduced him to Bud Robinson, Director of Advertising at the time, and they came up with a test for what became The Gap later on.
Chico’s has been closing stores since 2017 when they shut down 50 locations. This year, they will close their doors on 250 shops. Meanwhile, the CEO has said that they are studying the world of online sales to adapt more to modern times. Unfortunately, no one knows if they will start shutting stores in Canada and Mexico too. This decision is not that surprising because they even made the 2018 Forbes list for ‘Retailers On Life Support’. Yikes.
The company was founded by Marvin and Helene Gralnick in 1972, when they lived in Guadalajara, Mexico. In the 80s, they opened a gift shop in Florida named Folk Art Specialties but later changed it to Chico’s Folk Art Specialties in honor of a friend’s parrot. They sold artsy things but the most popular items were the sweater, and they soon became a clothing establishment. They opened another place in Captiva Island, Florida in 1985, but their first franchise store was built in Edina, Minnesota in 1987.
Guess might be one of the most popular brands in the world, but it has been going through a hard time for the past couples of years. It has closed many stores in America lately, but there is good news too. You might not be able to shop in a Guess store near you, but the company has been steadily growing internationally. It seems that their peak moment in the U.S. was designing Marty McFly’s jeans in ‘Back To The Future’.
Unfortunately, it’s not the first time that the brand had troubled in America. In the 90s, they had a sweatshop controversy, involving 80 establishments around the world that broke all kinds of labor laws. You might be surprised to learn that Guess started as a book of styles in 1981 by Georges Marciano. Marciano got his brother, Maurice, to develop the product. Meanwhile, his other siblings, Armand and Paul, were also involved in advertising and distribution.
33. CALVIN KLEIN
You might have loved seeing Nick Jonas and Justin Bieber in the Calvin Klein ads, but their sales have been doing horribly for several years. Therefore, the brand Calvin Klein will disappear completely as they are taking on a new name and restructuring their strategies. Their New York store closed in Spring 2019, and last year, was the last time that they showed in New York Fashion Week. Sadly, even having Lady Gaga and Lupita Nyong’o on the red carpet couldn’t save them.
Calvin Klein founded “Calvin Klein Limited” in 1968, which sold coats in the York Hotel in NYC. He only had $10,000 at the time. The first collection was featured in Bonwit Teller. In September 1969, Klein landed the cover of Vogue magazine. In the 70s, the line added sportswear, blazers, and even lingerie to their women’s products. He won the Coty American Fashion Critic’s Award in 73, 74, and 75. In 1977, its annual profits had risen to $30 million.
32. MICHAEL KORS
Michael Kors might be a worldwide-recognized designer, but many more stores are closing this year. The icon said, "A man in a well-tailored suit will always shine brighter than a guy in an off-the-rack suit." That might be true, but just like other expensive brands, Kors doesn’t appeal to normal folks. However, they did join forces with Amazon to sell watches, which means that they might be focusing on online revenue going forward. On the other hand, the stocks have significantly decreased, and experts have said that they will keep losing money.
Other designer handbags have been experiencing the same thing. Meanwhile, Michael David Kors was born on August 9, 1959, and he was the first women’s ready-to-wear designer for Celine, the French fashion house. This year, the company changed its name from Michael Kors Holdings Limited to Capri Holdings Limited, where Kors is the director and Honorary Chairman. Jimmy Choo and Versace are also under Capri Holdings Limited.
This jewelry stores will sadly close hundreds of locations, mainly those in malls. While it sales seem to increase a bit during the 2018 holidays, Zales did not get the numbers they were aspiring for at the time. The coveted Disney’s Enchanted collection couldn’t help either. Meanwhile, the owner’s of Zales, Signet, also have Jared’s, which also had horrible results. Therefore, the whole company is facing trouble. Kay Jewelers is also part of Signet, and some are near sister stores. So, they are hoping that the remaining locations will have more foot traffic.
The brand was founded in 1924 in Wichita Falls, Texas, by two Russian-Jewish brothers, Morris and William Zale, as well as Ben Lipshy. They had a credit strategy where clients could pay "a penny down and a dollar a week”, and it worked because a lot of people could finally afford jewelry, especially the working American class. The method worked so well that it expanded to 12 locations between Texas and Oklahoma by 1941.
30. ANN TAYLOR - LOFT
This brand and Lane Bryant are under the same parent company. Loft was always tailored towards working women, and they starting closing locations in 2017. More will be shut down this year. They are looking to end more than 660 establishments. They tried to revitalize their sales with a new image on social media, mainly the hashtag “#loveloft” on Instagram. They originally had stores in 46 states and many outlets. Your local one might be closing soon; so, you better hurry!
The brand was founded by Richard Liebeskind, who opened the first shop in New Haven, Connecticut in 1954. “Ann Taylor” was originally the name of a popular dress in Liebeskind’s father’s local. Therefore, his father gave him the name and the dress for good fortune. The designer thought it was a great idea because Ann was a popular name in New England, and Taylor made him think of tailored clothing.
Many favorite places might be completely closing soon, but luckily things are not dire for Kohl’s. While some locations are shutting down, it’s not as many as other brands. They were set to close four shops this year, and that’s not really a huge deal because they already have around 1,158 places in America. Furthermore, after they shut down those four places, they are expecting things to balance out so that they can open four new stores later on. The difference is that the new establishments will be smaller and in strategic locations.
Maxwell Kohl managed normal grocery stores since 1927, but his first supermarket opened in 1946. It later developed into a southeastern Wisconsin chain called Kohl’s Food Stores. In 1962, they became the largest chain in Milwaukee, and so, the owner opened a department store in Brookfield, Wisconsin. The establishment sold everything from high-end brands to discount products. Anyone could find whatever they desired from candy to car parts.
28. THE CHILDREN'S PLACE
This store was beloved by many children and their parents because the clothes were so awesome. Additionally, they were reasonably priced, but just like many other brands on this list, online sales have limited their revenue in the last years. People are just not going to malls as much as they did before. The brand has planned to shut down 300 locations by 2020, and they started closing them last year. It’s expected that they will close the last 45 next year.
The Children’s Place was created in 1969, and it was bought by Federated Department Store in 1981, which was later purchased by Campeau Corporation. The latter sold The Children’s Place to a group handled by Joseph Sitt in 1988. They went public on the NASDAQ exchange in 97 with the ticker symbol PLCE.
Starbucks is one of the most recognized coffee places in the world, but the times are taking a toll on the major brand. Some news outlets have reported that around 150 locations will be closing this year. Surprisingly, it’s not uncommon for them to shut down approximately 50 places every year, however, that’s thrice the amount. The brand will be ending those locations that don’t make that much money.
The first Starbucks was founded in Seattle, Washington, on March 31st, 1971 by three college friends from the University of San Francisco, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker. They got their inspiration from coffee roasting expert Alfred Peet, who showed his way of roasting the beans. Its name developed because Bowker had an advertising agency with Terry Heckler who said that words that began with “st” sounded more imposing.
The news that Sears is closing might not be a surprise to anyone. Things have been looking bad for them for some time now, and they have closed many locations already. However, more are shutting down this year. Apparently, around 72 places will be closing their doors this year, and the remaining ones are being purchased by ESL Investments, which hoped to save the brand and K-Marts as well. However, due to the changing mall culture, Sears will most likely disappear.
The founder Richard Warren Sears was born in 1863 to a rich family, but his father died after losing the money in a stock deal. Meanwhile, Sears had to work as a railroad station agent in North Redwood and Minneapolis. In North Redwood, he bought several watches from a jeweler that did not want them. He sold them for a small price to other station agents and made good money. Therefore, he started a mail-order watch company called in “R.W. Sears Watch Company” in 1886.
Sadly, Dressbarn lovers found out some sad news this past May. The brand, which is owned by Ascena Retail Group, will be shutting important locations around the country. NBC reported that around 650 Dressbarns will be closed but slowly. The news outlet wrote, "Customers will be able to continue to shop from Dressbarn stores and online, as the closures won’t take place immediately. It hasn’t outlined an exact timeline for the winding-down process of the business."
This company’s first location opened in February 1962 in Stamford, Connecticut, and the founder was Roslyn Jaffe. She was looking to sell wear-to-work gowns and other items to the rising working woman at the time. They started trading on NASDAQ with the symbol DBRN in 1982. In 2011, they reorganized their holdings as a Delaware business called Ascena Retail Group, Inc, which traded with the ASNA symbol.
This May, Fred’s also announced their decision to close most of their locations, and it looks like all their stores could follow suit. USA Today reported that 104 of their locations are not doing that well; so, they will be shutting them in an "ongoing effort to rationalize its store footprint”. Most were expected to close by June this year, especially those located in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and Tennessee.
The first Fred’s was built in Coldwater, Mississippi, in 1947, but they got their corporate headquarters in 1953 located in Memphis, Tennessee. Their big competitors are discount chains like Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree, but they also go against independent stores. Over the past several years, these establishments have taken business away from other important discount places like Walmart. Most Fred’s were located in small towns with less than 15,000 people.
J.C. Penny announced that they will be closing 18 department stores, and 9 home and furniture locations this year. However, some experts said that they might end up closing 100 stores in 2019, but luckily, it hasn’t been that bad. According to NBC, "The retailer is still operating more than 800 locations across the country, and that’s likely too many, as fewer shoppers head to antiquated malls to shop." But, they might continue to close locations in 2020.
Founder James Cash Penney was born in Hamilton, Missouri, and after high school, he worked for a local retailer. Penney moved to Colorado due to health, and in 1898, he worked for Thomas Callahan and Guy Johnson, owners of Golden Rule. He was asked to join their partnership for a new Golden Rule store later on, and Penney moved to Kemmerer, Wyoming to manage it. The location opened in 1902. They opened 3 more stores together, but eventually, Penney bought their shares and dissolve their business venture in 1907.
22. FAMILY DOLLAR
These kind of deep-discount places are not immune to the changing market. Most people go to their locations for cheap party supplies as well as school items for their children. However, they are also suffering from the rising online sellers, and they will be closing 390 of their locations, while other 200 shops will become Dollar Tree.
The company was created in 1959, and the founder was Leon Levine. He was just 21 years old at the time, and the first store opened later that year in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1961, they opened a shop in South Carolina, and then, moved to Georgia and Virginia. The 60s were just about opening up many places in the south. By 1969, there were 50 locations in Charlotte. In 1970, they went public, and in 1971, their 100th location opened. In 1974, they celebrated their 200th store, and their 300th came in 1978.
This Nashville company is dedicated to selling Christian products, and they recently announced they were closing their entire 170 locations in the U.S. their website will keep going, as they sell bibles, children’s stuff, books, church goods, Christian music, and movies. They have been active since 1891, but clients are no longer going to stores; so, everyone has to adapt to modern times.
It was founded by James Marion Frost, a pastor who also built the Baptist Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 1925, along with a board, Frost a bookshop called “Baptist Book Store”. In 1971, they started printing “LifeWay” on their products, and in 1996, they started rebranding their stores with that name. They will be focusing on their e-commerce.
20. PERFORMANCE BICYCLE SHOP
Their parent company Advanced Sports Enterprises filed for bankruptcy in November 2018. Unfortunately, sometime later they revealed that they could not find a buyer or repay their debts. Therefore, this March, they closed down all 102 stores over the United States. Luckily, it seems that you can still buy their product through its e-commerce business, which still seems operational today. You can get their bikes and other gear on the web.
Advanced Sports International focused on the brand Fuji Bikes, and they also owned smaller ones like Kestrel USA, Oval Concepts, Breezer bikes, and BMX maker SE Bikes. Patrick Cunnane is the main manager, and their headquarters was located in Philadelphia. Their business strategy was buying dying brands and turning them profitable. They bought Fuji Bikes in 1998 when people stopped biking. They did a great job in the beginning, as it soon became a high-end brand.
19. DESTINATION MATERNITY
Last year, the maternity-wear stores shut down 117 locations and leased shops. They also revealed their plans to close around 42 or 67 places in 2019 because of a new plan that will change the company. They are hoping to save around $2.3-$2.5 million each year with this decision, as the cost of maintaining stores and paying for leases has become too high. By 2022, they want around 42% of their sales to be handled online, and they are working on bettering their system with same-day delivery as well as working with Amazon’s Marketplace.
This company is based in Moorestown, New Jersey, and in November 2018, they had 1,108 retailers over the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, and they also had 474 stores with other names such as Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, and Destination Maternity. Furthermore, they had 634 leased places. They also have websites for all those brands, and recently went more international with supply stores in the Middle East, South Korea, Mexico, Israel, and India.
18. OFFICE DEPOT
Office Depot and Office Max will be shutting down around 50 stores this year. A rep from the enterprise said, "Office Depot, Inc. continues to optimize its retail footprint as part of the three-year strategic plan announced in August 2016. We will continue to serve our customers at neighboring Off