CONNECTICUT — The brick-and-mortar retail landscape continued its decline in Connecticut in 2019, with several national chains announcing store closings.
Some, like Kmart, are adding to a list of stores already slated for closure. Others, like Bed Bath & Beyond, say they’re scaling back retail operations and reinventing themselves as a brand.
Nationwide, Forever 21, Walgreens, Dressbarn, Olympia Sports, A.C. Moore and other chains shut down more than 9,300 stores in 2019 — making it the biggest year ever for store closing, according to Coresight Research. The retail technology and research firm says closures jumped about 60 percent from the 5,844 the firm tracked in 2018.
Unfortunately, the retail apocalypse is still in the early innings. Investment bank UBS anticipates another 75,000 stores could shutter by 2026. The axe will swing most deeply through clothing stores, according to an analysis by Forbes, which anticipates that particular industry losing an excess of some 21,000 stores out of the current 82,200, or around 25 percent. Consumer electronics stores are also in for a 25 percent haircut, losing 10,000 stores out of the current 39,000.
Here’s a look some of the national retailers that announced Connecticut store closings in 2019:
Arts and crafts giant A.C. Moore closed its Manchester store in October, then announced the shuttering of its remaining three Connecticut stores (Orange, New London and Plainville) one month later. It’s all part of a nationwide liquidation.
Olympia Sports, the prominent athletic footwear and apparel chain with outlets throughout New England, announced in November that it would be closing 76 stores, eight of which are in Connecticut. The Maine-based clothier was recently acquired by sports retailer JackRabbit, which will continue to operate the remaining 75 stores under the Olympia Sports’ banner. The 76 closing stores were not part of the acquisition.
Kmart’s last remaining Connecticut store in Watertown closed in December. Sears closed its Meriden location earlier in 2019. Other Sears locations that have closed within the past year include Milford, Waterbury and Waterford.
Read more: Iconic Retailer Closing Last CT Store
All Dressbarn stores were slated to be shut down by the end of 2019, the company announced this summer.
“We have received overwhelming landlord support for our plan, which will allow us to implement our wind down in a manner that provides the best recovery for our landlords. Further, we are current, and expect to remain so, with our vendors and suppliers,” Steven Taylor, Dressbarn CFO, said in a statement over the summer.
Overall, 19 stores in Connecticut will close.
Read more: Dressbarn Closings in CT
The national pharmacy chain Walgreens closed plotted the closure of 200 stores in 2019, according to an August SEC filing. A list of locations to close was not released by the company.
Women’s fashion accessory retailer Charming Charlie filed for bankruptcy and closed its roughly 260 stores across the country, including four in Connecticut. The company’s final day was Aug. 30. Charming Charlie had locations in Guilford, West Hartford, Plainville and South Windsor.
In November, the New Jersey-based retail chain Destination Maternity announced its plans to close 201 locations in the United States, including four in Connecticut.
Brookstone closed its locations in Danbury, Waterford and at the Mohegan Sun casino.
Charlotte Russe announced earlier in 2019 that it would close all of its stores including five locations in Connecticut.
In October, Forever 21 announced its plans to shutter stores in the Danbury Fair Mall, Foxwood Outlets in Mashantucket, Stamford Town Center and the Meriden Square Mall, as well as 174 more nationwide. The total number of closures planned represents about a third of Forever 21′s operation in the U.S.
In June, the homewares and furnishings chain Pier 1 announced its plans to close 57 stores by the end of 2019, USA Today reported. A list of locations was not released by the company.
Bed Bath & Beyond, the popular home store with 17 locations in Connecticut, promised a few changes coming to a chunk of its stores before Christmas, with underperforming locations closed or relocated early in 2020.