2011 was a year of expansion for the U.S. retail industry, even though it was a year of instability for the U.S. economy. Measured by store openings and closings, it was hoped that the retail industry expansion would continue in 2012. So when major U.S. retail chains like Sears, Blockbuster, The Gap, and Abercrombie & Fitch announced triple-digit store closing plans for 2012, it seemed to indicate trouble for retail sales and a backwards step for the U.S. economy.
With more consideration, however, it becomes apparent that the store closings of Sears, Blockbuster, The Gap, and Abercrombie & Fitch have less to do with the shifting of fortunes, and more to do with the shifts in consuming preferences and changing retail shopping trends. In its refusal to adjust its pricing during the recession, Abercrombie & Fitch seemingly alienated a significant portion of its customer base. Sears and The Gap have both been struggling with merchandise mix and pricing, for the past several years, and also losing their customer base in the process.
Blockbuster's closings are an inevitable result of the shifting preferences toward online and digital viewing of movies, TV shows, and recorded video content. Netflix and Redbox have also stolen Blockbuster customers with convenience and extremely low prices.
While the total number of store closings planned for the 2012 calendar year seem relatively insignificant when compared to previous economic recession and recovery years, it can be expected that store closing announcements will continue throughout 2012. With the shift to Internet and mobile shopping, the demand for brick and mortar store shopping is trending lower. In response, major U.S. retail chains will continue to downsize their physical retail operations as leases expire and less profitable locations are re-evaluated.
What follows is a complete, updated, and ongoing list of retail chains that are closing stores, downsizing their chains, or going out of business in the 2012 calendar year.
>> Complete 2012 Retail Store Closings List >>
2012 Retail Store Closings Arranged Alphabetically >>
- 2012 Store Openings
- Publicly Traded Retail Companies - Complete List
- Compare to 2011 Retail Store Closings
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