These Beloved Mall Stalwarts Are Closing A Lot Of Stores In 2017

We’re just a quarter of the way through 2017, but you might’ve noticed quite a few vacant storefronts in your local mall. There are already a pretty startling range of retailers have already shuttered a lot of locations (or plan to do so in the near future), according to Forbes. The 21 retailers that the publication looked at are primarily fashion chains (save for a couple of electronics, outdoors gear, and big-box names), adding up to a whopping total of 3,591 store location closures that have already gone down or are slated to happen shortly.
Among the fashion purveyors highlighted, Payless ShoeSource topped the list, with 1,000 outposts closing up shop. The Limited came in third, with 250 closures, followed by Wet Seal, which has the fifth most closures chronicled (171 stores). Crocs, J.C. Penney, Chico, BCBG Max Azria, Kmart, and American Apparel all each have over 100 retail locations bidding farewell this year. Other apparel labels with significant shutterings on the docket in 2017: Guess and Abercrombie & Fitch, with 60 closures apiece, plus American Eagle, Eastern Mountain Sports. Among the department stores and big-box names on the list are J.C. Penney, Kmart, Macy’s, and Sears.
Photo: James Leynse/Corbis/Getty Images.
While Payless’ closures are by and far the steepest of the entire list, the affordable footwear chain isn’t disappearing completely. Though it announced in January that it’d be laying off 2% of its employees, and closing nearly a quarter of its 4,400 stores, the plan is to apparently to instead open larger Payless Super Stores, with over 60 currently in operation and 60 more slated over the next four years. (As it’s gotten closer to bankruptcy, the chain has also dealt with protests from a number of its factories due to large unpaid debts.)
Wet Seal’s demise has been in the works for awhile now — the teen chain declared bankruptcy in 2015, and had already shuttered more than 300 stores prior to that. The Limited was on bankruptcy watch in December, followed by word in early January that the mall stalwart would, indeed, be calling it quits. Meanwhile, BCBG Max Azria filed for Chapter 11 earlier this month, and though reps assured that its 200 locations would remain open, the fate of the prom season go-to remains unclear. As for American Apparel, it’s been a long, dramatic road to the end. Well, kind of, considering Canadian company Gildan Activewear purchased the chain for $103 million in January — but it didn’t renew the hoodie and lame purveyor’s production or distribution facilities, nor did it express interest in keeping its 100-plus retail outposts open.
Stay tuned for more retail farewells, as this unfortunately probably isn’t the full range of chains downsizing or disappearing this year.

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