Fact Check

Store Closings

E-mail lists large retail chains that plan to close by the end of 2008.

Published May 23, 2008


Claim:   E-mail lists large retail chains that plan to close some or all of their stores by the end of 2008.



[Collected via e-mail, May 2008]

I received an email stating the following...

FYI..... (sniff!!)

Who says we're not in a recession !!

The following stores announced yesterday they would be CLOSING their doors by December!

ANN TAYLOR (WHY, Lawd, WHY???!!!)

[Collected via e-mail, November 2008]

Just a heads up for the holidays.....

the Consumer Reporter, suggests not giving gift cards at all this year. If the business goes under, the card will be no good, and that will just be money down the drain. You may be covered if you use a credit card, but the gift will be no good/xx

latest to this list: Circuit City

Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide A company spokeswoman said the company hasn't revealed which stores will be shuttered. It will let the stores that will close this fiscal year know over the next month

Eddie Bauer has already closed 27 shops in the first quarter and plans to close up to two more outlet stores by the end of the year.

Women's retailer Cache' announced that it is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide. The owner of retailers Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines Plus Sizes will close about 150 underperforming stores this year. The company hasn't provided a list of specific store closures and can't say when it will offer that info, spokeswoman Brooke Perry said today.

About a month ago, Talbots announced that it will be shuttering all 78 of its kids and men's stores. Now the company says it will close another 22 underperforming stores.. The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbots women's and J. Jill, another chain it owns. The closures will occur this fiscal year, according to a company press release.

Gap Inc. closing 85 stores.
In addition to its namesake chain, Gap also owns Old Navy and Banana Republic. The company said the closures - ll planned for fiscal 2008 - will be weighted toward the Gap brand.

Foot Locker - to close 140 stores
In the company press release and during its conference call with analysts today, it did not specify where the future store closures - all planned in fiscal 2008 - will be. The company could not be immediately reached for comment

Wickes - is going out of business
Wickes Furniture is going out of business and closing all of its stores, Wickes, a 37-year-old retailer that targets middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

Goodbye Levitz
The furniture retailer, which is going out of business. Levitz first announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores in December. The retailer dates back to 1910 when Richard Levitz opened his first furniture store in Lebanon, PA. In the 1960s, the warehouse/showroom concept brought Levitz to the forefront of the furniture industry. The local Levitz closures will follow the shutdown of Bombay.

Zales, Piercing Pagoda closing stores
The owner of Zales and Piercing Pagoda previously said it plans to close 82 stores by July 31. Today, it announced that it is closing another 23 underperforming stores. The company said it's not providing a list of specific store closures. Of the 105 locations planned for closure, 50 are kiosks and 55 are stores.

The Walt Disney Company announced it acquired about 220 Disney Stores from subsidiaries of The Children's Place Retail Stores. The exact number of stores acquired will depend on negotiations with landlords. Those subsidiaries of Children's Place filed for bankruptcy protection in late March. Walt Disney in the news release said it has also obtained the right to close about 98 Disney Stores in the U.S. The press release didn't list those stores.

Nearly 7+ months after its chief executive said there were no plans to cut the number of its core retail stores, The Home Depot Inc.announced Thursday that it is shuttering 15 of them amid a slumping U.S. economy and housing market. The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store for performance reasons. It's shares rose almost 5 percent. The Atlanta-based company said the underperforming U.S. stores being closed represent less than 1 percent of its existing stores. They will be shuttered within the next two months.

CompUSA (CLOSED) clarifies details on store closings. Any extended warranties purchased for products through CompUSA will be honored by a third-party provider, Assurant Solutions. Gift cards, rain checks, and rebates purchased prior to December 12 can be redeemed at any time during the final sale. For those who have a gadget currently in for service with CompUSA, the repair will be completed and the gadget will be returned to owners.

Macy's - 9 stores

Movie Gallery - Closed 160 stores as part of reorganization plan to exit bankruptcy. The video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental chain closed last fall.

Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores

Pep Boys - 33 stores

Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations New Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse appears to have inherited a company bleeding subscribers by the thousands, and will now officially be dropping the axe on 4,000 employees and 125 retail locations. Amid the loss of 639,000 postpaid customers in the
fourth quarter, Sprint will be cutting a total of 6.7% of its work force (following the 5,000 layoffs last year) and 8% of company-owned brick-and-mortar stores, while remaining mute on other rumors that it will
consolidate its headquarters in Kansas. Sprint Nextel shares are down $2.89, or nearly 25%, at the time of this writing.

J. C. Penney, Lowe's and Office Depot are scaling back

Ethan Allen Interiors: The company announced plans to close 12 of 300+ stores in an effort to cut costs.

Wilsons the Leather Experts - 158 stores

Pacific Sunwear will close its 154 Demo stores after a review of strategic alternatives for the urban-apparel brand. Seventy-four underperforming Demo stores closed last May.

Sharper Image: The company recently filed for bankruptcy protection and announced that 90 of its 184 stores are closing. The retailer will still operate 94 stores to pay off debts, but 90 of these stores have performed poorly and also may close.

Bombay Company: (Freehold Mall store closed) The company unveiled plans to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores. The company's online storefront has discontinued operations.

KB Toys posted a list of 356 stores that it is closing around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. To see the list of store closings, go to the KB Toys Information web site, and click on Press

Dillard's to Close More Stores
Dillard's Inc. said it will continue to focus on closing under performing stores, reducing expenses and improving its merchandise in 2008. At the company's annual shareholder meeting, CEO William Dillard II said the company will close another six under performing stores this year.

Origins:   During prolonged economic downturns (or when signs indicate such a phenomenon is looming on the horizon), retail chains often retrench by scaling back expansion plans, delaying the openings of planned new stores, and closing underperforming or redundant outlets. The long list of chain stores referenced above includes businesses currently in a variety of different financial states; the listed stores are not (as some versions of this item claim) all closing down for good: Some have gone bankrupt and closed for good, some have sought bankruptcy protection but remained open, some have already been through bankruptcy proceedngs and have emerged in a reorganized state, some have closed a significant portion of their outlets, and some have closed a relatively small percentage of underperforming stores while continuing to open new locations.

A couple of important points to consider are:

  • Filing for bankruptcy protection does not necessarily mean a company is going out of business: Chapter 11 provisions allow businesses to propose reorganization plans that will enable them to continue functioning as they pay their creditors over time. Companies who file for Chapter 11 may still go bankrupt anyway (Chapter 7), or their reorganization plans may not be approved by bankruptcy courts, or they may emerge from Chapter 11 protection too weak to remain viable for long, or they may be bought up by liquidation firms, but none of those outcomes is inevitable — many businesses have thrived (or least regained a stable level of performance) after emerging from Chapter 11 protection.
  • Although federal law allows companies to stop honoring gift cards when they file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, not all businesses do so. Some companies may continue to redeem store gift cards while they reorganize, while others may temporarily suspend redemption of gift cards for some period of time and resume it later. That any particular retail business has recently filed for Chapter 11 protection does not automatically mean that any gift cards or gift certificates it has previously issued will "not be valid for much longer."
  • It is normal, even in the best of economic times, for large chains to periodically prune their operations by closing older and underperforming outlets. That a chain has closed some of its locations is not necessarily an indicator that the business is experiencing financial difficulty — important factors to consider are what percentage of the chain's total locations those closings represent, and whether the chain is continuing to open new outlets while it closes others.

Business information of this nature tends to be volatile, especially in times of economic upheaval. As best we could determine according to various news accounts published so far in 2008, the chains named above are planning, or have made, the following cutbacks:

  • The Ann Taylor chain of women's clothing stores (which includes Ann Taylor, LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory and LOFT Outlet stores) said in Novermber 2008 they would expand the scope of a restructuring announced in January 2008 that included the closing of 117 stores (out of approximately 966 locations).
  • The Bombay Company chain of imported home furnishings stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2007. All 384 of its U.S.-based stores were closed and liquidated in January 2008 (but new ownership still operates approximately 48 Bombay & Co. stores in Canada).
  • The Caché chain of women's specialty apparel stores closed 14 underperforming outlets (out of 295 stores) but is still opening new locations.
  • The Charming Shoppes chain of plus-size women's apparel

    stores has closed 150 of its approximately 2,360 outlets.

  • The Circuit City chain of retail electronics stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2008 and announced in January 2009 that they would be closing and liquidating their remaining 567 U.S. stores. (More information about Circuit City's business operations under Chapter 11 protection can be found here.)
  • The CompUSA chain of consumer electronics stores was sold to the Gordon Brothers Group restructuring firm in December 2007, and most of its 103 outlets were subsequently closed. In January 2008 many of the remaining assets and the CompUSA brand were sold to Systemax, Inc. which currently operates 23 CompUSA stores in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Puerto Rico, as well as an online store, CompUSA.com. (CompUSA continues to accept gift cards.)
  • The Dillard's department store chain announced the closure of 21 outlets in 2008 and said it expects more store closures in 2009.
  • The Disney Store chain was reacquired by the Walt Disney Co. from Children's Place Retail Stores in March 2008, and about 98 (out of approximately 335) of the chain's North American locations were closed as part of the transition to new ownership.
  • The Eddie Bauer chain of casual apparel stores closed 29 outlets (out of about 376 locations) and opened 10 new outlets during the first nine months of 2008.
  • The Ethan Allen chain of home furnishings stores closed 12 retail design centers and two service centers in 2008.
  • The Foot Locker chain of shoe stores chain closed 274 outlets (out of more than 3,700) in 2007 and another 60 in the first quarter of 2008, with more such closures likely. (In January 2010, Foot Locker announced the closing of another 117 underperforming stores.)
  • Whitehall Jewelers acquired the remnants of the Friedman's and Crescent chains in early 2008 after that combined company entered bankruptcy, then Whitehall itself filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2008 and began liquidating and closing all 373 of its remaining stores.
  • The Gap chain of clothiers (whose brands include Old Navy and Banana Republic) closed 17 stores while opening 37 more during the third quarter of 2008, ending with a total of 3,190 outlets. The company expects to close 115 stores while opening 100 more locations during the 2008 fiscal year.
  • The Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video video rental chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2007, just after announcing plans to close 520 stores. In February 2008 the chain announced closings of 400 more outlets, and in April 2008 Movie Gallery said they were shutting down another 160 underperforming stores. The chain emerged from bankruptcy reorganization in May 2008 and currently operates about 3,500 outlets.
  • The Home Depot chain of home improvements stores announced in May 2008 that it would be closing 15 underperforming outlets.
  • The KB Toys chain of retail toy stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2008 and shortly thereafter announced plans to close all 461 of their stores across the U.S.
  • The Kirkland's chain of home decor stores is expecting to close 130 (of its approximately 335) outlets by the middle of 2009.
  • The Levitz Furniture chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (for the third time in ten years) in November 2007 and shortly afterwards began the process of closing its stores and liquidating its remaining inventory.
  • The Lowe's chain of home improvement stores might open fewer new outlets in 2008 and 2009 than originally planned, but the company still expects to complete the opening of between 115 to 120 new stores in 2008, with more new stores (and no closures) to follow in 2009.
  • The Macy's chain of department stores (which also includes Bloomingdale's) closed 11 of its approximately 850 outlets in 2008. (In January 2010, Macy's announced they would be closing another five underperforming stores.)
  • Pacific Sunwear closed 74 underperforming stores in its d.e.m.o. line in 2007 and closed all 154 of its remaining d.e.m.o. stores in 2008. (The company has not so far announced plans to close any of its core Pacific Sunware outlets.)
  • The Pep Boys chain of auto supply and repair stores closed 31 low-return outlets (out of approximately 600 stores) at the end of 2007.
  • The Sharper Image chain of electronics and specialty gifts stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2008, then began closing and liquidating all 184 of its outlets in June 2008.
  • Sprint, a global provider of voice, data and Internet services, announced in January 2008 that it would be closing about 125 of its 1,400 retail outlets.
  • Talbots Inc. announced in November 2008 that it was seeking to sell off its chain of J. Jill casual clothier stores. (Talbots has already shed its Talbots Kids, Talbots Mens and U.K. businesses and has closed an additional 28 Talbots stores out of about 1,400 total outlets.) However,
    we have found no announcement that Talbots is planning to close any J. Jill outlets in the near future: The chain still operates 283 locations, is still opening new stores, and is still selling and redeeming gift cards.
  • The Wickes Furniture chain began liquidating merchandise and fixtures at locations nationwide in February 2008 as part of bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Wilsons Leather (the Leather Experts) shut down its mall-based locations in Fall 2008, but the Wilsons Leather Outlet stores and e-commerce business was acquired by AM Retail (a subsidiary of G-III Apparel Group), which currently operates 119 Wilsons outlets in the U.S. (Gift cards purchased from now-closed Wilsons Leather mall stores can still be redeemed at Wilsons Leather Outlet locations as well as through the Wilsons Leather web site.)
  • Zales Corp,, which operates Zales Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Gordon's Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Mappins Jewellers, and Piercing Pagoda, closed approximately 105 retail outlets (out of 2,130) in 2008, half of them kiosks and half of them stores. However, the company also opened approximately 100 new outlets in 2008, so the net change in the number of Zales-operated stores was relatively small.

Last updated:   17 January 2010


    Abelson, Jenn.   "Talbots Is Seeking a Buyer for J. Jill."

    The Boston Globe.   7 November 2008.

    Ackerman, Ruthie.   "Sharper Image Files for Bankruptcy."

    Forbes.   20 February 2008.

    Barbaro, Michael.   "Retailing Chains Caught in a Wave of Bankruptcies."

    The New York Times.   15 April 2008.

    Barbaro, Michael.   "Big Retailers Scaling Back Expansion Plans and Shutting Stores."

    The New York Times.   2 May 2008.

    Chang, Andrea.   "Macy's to Close Five Stores."

    Los Angeles Times.   6 January 2010   (p. B2).

    Chang, Andrea.   "Foot Locker to Close 117 Stores."

    Los Angeles Times.   9 January 2010   (p. B2).

    D'innocenzio, Anne.   "Toy Stocks Enjoy Strong Gains As Official Start of Holiday Season Nears."

    Associated Press.   3 November 2006.

    Felberbaum, Michael and Vinnee Tong.   "Circuit City to Close 567 Remaining US Stores."

    Associated Press.   16 January 2009.

    Finney, Michael.   "Levitz Furniture Files for Bankruptcy."

    KGO-TV [San Francisco].   27 November 2007.

    Hirsh, Lou.   "Wickes Furniture Begins Going-out-of-Business Sale."

    The Press-Enterprise.   29 February 2008.

    Kingsbury, Kevin.   "Restructuring Charges, Economic Environment Hurt AnnTaylor's Net."

    The Wall Street Journal.   22 May 2008.

    Kirk, Bill.   "Bogus E-Mail Claims Store Closings."

    The [North Andover] Eagle-Tribune.   19 November 2008.

    Kosdrosky, Terry.   "Pep Boys Posts Wider Loss, Outlines Strategic Changes."

    The Wall Street Journal.   28 November 2007.

    Lloyd, Mary Ellen.   "Lowe's Net Falls 24% as Consumers Retreat."

    The Wall Street Journal.   18 November 2008   (p. B3).

    McCarty, Dawn and Michael Bathon.   "Whitehall Jewelers Files for Bankruptcy Protection."

    Bloomberg News.   23 June 2008.

    Niedt, Bob.   "Erroneous Closings Now an Urban Legend."

    The [Syracuse] Post-Standard.   21 November 2008.

    O'Donnell, Jayne.   "Disney to Shutter 98 Stores; Home Depot Closing 15."

    USA Today.   1 May 2008.

    Rovella, David E. and Dawn McCarty.   "Movie Gallery Files Plan to Exit Bankruptcy in 2008."

    Bloomberg News.   23 December 2007.

    Saranow, Jennifer.   "AnnTaylor, Talbots Plan Further Cuts."

    The Wall Street Journal.   7 November 2008.

    Soenarie, Angelique.   "Whitehall Jewelers Going Out of Business."

    The Arizona Republic.   29 October 2008.

    Associated Press.   "KB Toys Hopes to Exit Chapter 11 Before Holidays."

    FOXNews.com.   16 May 2005.

    Associated Press.   "Consumer Electronics Store CompUSA Is Sold; Will Close All Stores."

    International Herald Tribune.   8 December 2007.

    Associated Press.   "Wilsons Leather Closing Stores."

    Green Bay Press-Gazette.   16 February 2008.

    Associated Press.   "Children's Place to Exit Disney Stores."

    Forbes.   20 March 2008.

    Associated Press.   "Home Depot to Close 15 Underperforming US Stores."

    International Herald Tribune.   1 May 2008.

    Birmingham News.   "Movie Gallery to Shutter Another 160 Stores."

    3 April 2008.

    CBS News.   "Macy's to Slash 2,300 Jobs."

    6 February 2008.

    Computerworld.   "Systemax to Buy CompUSA Brand, 16 Retail Outlets."

    9 January 2008.

    Dow Jones Newswires.   "Foot Locker 1Q Net Falls 82%; Backs Year Forecast."

    CNNMoney.com.   22 May 2008.

    Inside Tucson Business.   "Retail Down-Sizing."

    12 November 2008.

    Reuters.   "Dillard's Cuts Spending, to Open Fewer Stores."

    31 October 2008.

    Reuters.   "AnnTaylor Sees Weak Holiday Season."

    21 November 2008.

    The Wall Street Journal.   "Gap Net Rises; Chain Affirms Its Guidance."

    21 November 2008   (p. B2).

    WHAS-TV [Louisville].   "Many Stores Closing Due to Retail Slump."

    22 May 2008.

    WISC-TV [Madison].   "E-Mail Warning About Gift Cards Threatens to Be Holiday Grinch."

    24 November 2008.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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