Abercrombie & Fitch to Close Up to 40 Stores in 2019
Teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch said last week that it plans to close up to 40 stores by next February, with the majority of closures slated in the U.S. Abercrombie, which also owns Hollister, has been closing stores regularly over the years. For example, over the last eight years, it has shuttered about 475 stores, according to CNBC. In fiscal 2018, Abercrombie & Fitch closed 29 stores, which contributed to a 2 percent decline across the company in total square footage.
Abercrombie & Fitch is not abandoning brick-and-mortar retail, however. During the 2018 fiscal year, Abercrombie delivered 67 new store experiences through new store prototypes, remodeled stores and right-sizing. What's more, in fiscal 2019, the company plans to add or remodel 85 stores, including 40 new locations.
Total Retail's Take: Abercrombie's closed stores will be added to the long list that have been announced since the start of the year. In fact, as of last Friday, 4,810 store closures have been announced by retailers in 2019, according to Coresight Research. Just a week ago, that tally was at 4,309. Dollar Tree said last week it will be closing up to 390 Family Dollar stores. Bankrupt clothing company Charlotte Russe has also started liquidation sales and will shutter all of its more than 500 stores. To top it off, Amazon.com will close all 87 of its pop-up shops in Whole Foods stores, Kohl’s stores and malls across the U.S., starting in April. Other retailers closing stores this year include Gap, J.C. Penney, Victoria’s Secret, Tesla and Chico’s.
However, there is some positive news to report: Coresight Research has tracked about 2,264 store openings so far in 2019, including some by fitness brand Peloton, Ulta Beauty, Indochino and Ross Stores. Furthermore, real estate developer Related will open a massive shopping mall in New York, The Shops at Hudson Yards, next week. The property will be anchored by department store chain Neiman Marcus, with retailers ranging from luxury to discount — including Coach, Madewell, Athleta, H&M, Lululemon, Sephora and Cartier — setting up shop there.
The retail industry seems to be bifurcated right now, with one group of retailers closing or rightsizing underperforming stores, and another opening up stores in new and exciting ways. Some retailers are doing both however: Abercromnie & Fitch is optimizing its store fleet, while also investing in digital and omnichannel capabilities. Hopefully, the industry as a whole will benefit from all approaches.