The trend: Several prominent retailers plan to significantly reduce their store counts this year.
Perception versus reality: Those store closures suggest an abrupt shift from the prevailing trend last year, when there were 5,103 major US store openings announced, compared with just 2,603 announced store closures, according to Coresight Research data reported in Insider. And they also could spark the resurgence of a narrative focused on the so-called retail apocalypse (or retailpocalyse)—when retailers such as Bon-Ton (parent company of merchants such as Carson Pirie Scott and The Boston Store), Toys R Us, JCPenney, and others closed thousands of stores. However, the reality is far more nuanced.
At the same time, several retailers continue to expand their physical presences. For example, Five Below plans to open over 200 locations in fiscal 2023 and is also converting over 400 stores to its Five Beyond concept, which features higher-priced items, per Chain Store Age.
What’s really going on: As always, the retail landscape is changing. Malls are evolving, retailers are investing in experiential stores, and direct-to-consumer brands like Allbirds and Brooklinen are expanding their store counts.
The big takeaway: There are some serious challenges facing mid-tier retailers, which is evident as merchants such as Macy’s and Chico’s recently lowered their Q4 outlooks.
This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Retail & Ecommerce Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the retail industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.