The Reasoning Behind Closing Store Chains

Caitlin Wang, Staff Writer

Department stores are no longer as popular as they once were. Stores like Macy’s and J.C. Penney are far from popular these days, unlike how they were in previous generations. It seems that people would rather shop online, or these stores no longer meet recent fashion trends. Here are a few clothing chains that have experienced many store closures and the reasoning behind it all. 

Since 2017, retail chains have competed with online shopping. It is called “retail apocalypse”. At times, it is much easier and more enjoyable to scroll through retail products online rather than squeeze through a crowded shopping mall. According to, “, the largest U.S. e-commerce company, had about 103 million paying subscribers to its Amazon Prime service in March 2019.” From these statistics, it is reasonable to infer that Americans have begun to prefer online retail over department stores. 

From 1970 to 2015, the number of shopping malls in America grew rapidly. However, due to this rapid increase, many malls had to close soon after because of an “oversaturated retail environment”. When the malls closed, department stores like Sears and Macy’s lost revenue and also had to close many stores. Moreover, the Great Recession caused people to shop at larger and less-pricey stores outside of malls, such as Target and Walmart. Department stores couldn’t really compete, so many closed during the time period. 

According to CNBC, “Gap Inc. is planning to shut 230 of its namesake brand’s stores over the next two years.” Supposedly, this year, 50 company-owned stores are going to close. Gap’s situation is similar to many clothing companies located in malls, due to the reasoning explained above. For example, back in February, Payless ShoeSource filed for bankruptcy and began shutting down all of its 2,500 stores in North America. The company could not survive despite selling retail at very low prices. Surprisingly, even once-popular stores, like Nordstrom are experiencing many store closures, despite their efforts to improve business by putting more money into Nordstrom Rack and creating online pickup areas within their stores at malls. Gradually, many other unexpected store chains are anticipated to close. 

Overall, online sales have made it difficult for clothing chains to gain customers and have had to change their marketing strategies. Some strategies have worked and appealed to buyers, but many have failed, resulting in more and more store closures. The world of fashion is constantly changing, and it’s different from what it was just a few years ago, which is why many stores are now filing for bankruptcy. 

Photo courtesy of CNBC.COM