In 2021, These Apparel Companies Will Close Many (If Not All) Of Their Stores

Although most businesses suffered in 2020, few have struggled more than retail. According to Mickey Chadha, the vice president of Moody’s Investor Service, department and apparel stores suffered the most. Even large clothing companies are closing stores in 2021. Some brands are shutting down for good, while others plan to close over 200 locations within a few years. These well-known apparel companies are losing stores in 2021.

Gap Is Leaving American Malls

People walk outside of a Gap store that is closed down.
Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Dave Rushen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Gap is planning to close most of its mall locations within the next few years. In October 2020, Gap Inc. announced that they aimed to close 350 Gap and Banana Republic locations by 2023. That is a 30% decrease in storefronts.

CEO Mark Breitbard said that Gap’s focus used to be on mall locations but now, 80% of their sales will be online. The brand was struggling even before the pandemic. According to Forbes, consumers think that their apparel is “overpriced” and “plain” compared to other clothing brands.

Over 200 American Eagle Outfitters Stores Will Close

People walk in front of an American Eagle Outfitters store.
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Jin Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

American Eagle Outfitters aims to close between 200 to 250 stores within the next few years. In January 2021, the tween brand announced that they will mainly shut down mall locations. Chief Financial Officer Mike Mathias explained that while American Eagle Outfitters locations are decreasing, Aerie stores will increase.

American Eagle currently owns 800 American Eagle Outfitters stores and 50 Aerie stores. With this new plan, Aerie locations will increase to 400 by the end of 2021. Meanwhile, American Outfitters boutiques will decrease and focus on online sales.

Neiman Marcus Will Shrink To 42 Stores In 2021

Pedestrians walk past a Neiman Marcus store.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Neiman Marcus was one of the first retailers to file for bankruptcy after the pandemic hit. After filing for bankruptcy in May 2020, a spokesperson announced that they will shutter 22 locations. In September 2020, they added four more stores to that list. This leaves just 42 Neiman Marcus stores throughout the United States.

CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck claimed that these closures have resulted from the “inexorable pressure” of the pandemic. Although brick-and-mortar locations will close in 2021, the brand is focusing on expanding its online presence.

The Largest Kids’ Clothing Brand Is Getting Smaller

The store entrance of The Children's Place is pictured.
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Children’s Place, which is the largest children’s clothing brand in the U.S., is rapidly shrinking. In 2020, 178 stores permanently closed. In March 2021, CEO Jane Elfers announced that 122 more locations by the end of the year.

Twenty-five stores will shut down within the first quarter, and 97 will close by the end of the fiscal year. That’s around 300 locations gone, with 749 remaining. Although retail sales declined by 7.8% in 2020, online sales rose by 38%. The Children’s Place will remain in business with fewer stores.

Macy’s Plans To Close 125 Stores

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Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Like many other clothing brands, Macy’s has temporarily shut down several of its locations throughout 2020. However, it plans to permanently close even more. “We are committed to the 125 store closures that we announced in 2020,” said CEO Jeff Gennette in February 2021. “Approximately 60 stores have closed or will close soon.”

Macy’s is focusing on closing its mall locations, and one-fifth of its stores will shut down within the next few years. Although in-store purchases have declined, online purchases have risen. Expect the brand to become a prolific online retailer.

Victoria’s Secret Will Close 50 Stores

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Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Victoria’s Secret had already been struggling in 2020. By October of that year, the women’s lingerie chain had closed 223 locations in the U.S. and Canada. In May 2021, CEO Stuart Burgdoerfer said that they would close “more in 2021 and probably a bit more in 2022.”

L Brands, the owner of Victoria’s Secret, plans to close 50 locations in 2021. However, they plan to increase storefronts of their other brand, Bath & Body Works. While Bath & Body Works has increased sales during the pandemic, Victoria’s Secret has floundered.

Brooks Brothers, America’s Oldest Retailer, Is Struggling

A couple walks past a Brooks Brothers store in a mall.
Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Brooks Brothers, founded in 1818, is the oldest clothing retailer in the United States. But in July of 2020, the clothing brand filed for bankruptcy. They plan to close 51 stores in 2021, which will leave less than 200 remaining.

According to Business Insider, Brooks Brothers is also shutting down several factories and will eliminate 700 jobs. “During this strategic review, Covid-19 became immensely disruptive and took a toll on our business,” a spokesperson told CNBC. Brooks Brothers is also awaiting acquisition by Authentic Brands Group LLC and SPARC Group LLC.

Good Luck Finding Lucky Brand Stores

A woman walks by a Lucky Brand store that has a closing sale.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Lucky Brand, which is most famous for its jeans, filed for bankruptcy in June 2020. The parent company sells jeans to department stores. But with fewer retailers being open, Lucky Brand has struggled. In 2021, they will close at least 13 of their 200 stores.

On top of that, Lucky is searching for new ownership. Its parent company, Leonard Green & Partners LP, owes $182 million to lenders and $79 million to vendors. They planned to sell Lucky Brand to SPARC Group, the owner of Aéropostale and Nautica. Few updates have appeared since this announcement.

In 2021, H&M Will Close 350 Stores And Open 100 New Ones

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Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Throughout 2020, H&M has announced many changes in its stores. In June 2020, the company announced that they will close 170 stores. But by October of that year, they upped the number to 350. They plan to close 350 stores and open 100 new ones in 2021.

Like many clothing retailers, H&M is focusing on online sales, according to CEO Helena Helmersson. Currently, the brand has 5,000 brick-and-mortar locations, and its online sales “have been accelerated by COVID-19.” Although H&M stores are closing, the company is nowhere close to bankruptcy.

As A Financial Strategy, Guess Will Shut Down 100 Stores

A Guess storefront is boarded up.
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Although Guess is not going out of business, its stores have been struggling. In June 2020, the company announced that it will close 100 of its 1,500 stores worldwide. Most closings will occur in North American and China.

According to CEO Carlos Alberini, this is a financial strategy. He claimed that fewer stores will help them focus on quality, “related to customer centricity, elevating our brand, improving the quality of our product and developing one global product line.” Expect many locations to remain in malls and outlets.

America’s Oldest Department Store Is Being Liquidated

A woman carries a Lord & Taylor shopping bag.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lord & Taylor is the first and oldest department store in the United States. But in August 2020, the company announced that they will liquidate all remaining stores in 2021. At this point, Lord & Taylor had 38 remaining stores and had been around for 194 years.

After filing for bankruptcy, Lord & Taylor was sold to French rental clothing company Le Tote Inc. in 2019. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they struggled to garner an online presence. By the end of 2021, the store will only be online.

Thanks To Their Landlords, J. Crew Will Survive In 2021

A closed J. Crew is seen on a street corner.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

J. Crew, which sells shoes, bags, and clothing, went into bankruptcy in May 2020. It has 500 store locations, and it plans to close at least eight throughout 2021. This is despite exiting bankruptcy in September.

J. Crew would have closed more locations had they not reached an agreement with their landlords. After negotiating their leases, mainly in New York City, they managed to reopen 458 stores. If they can continue to profit from online sales, J. Crew stores might remain open. But only time will tell.

Coldwater Creek Will Never Return

Pedestrians walk past a Coldwater Creek store.
Jerry Cleveland/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Jerry Cleveland/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Coldwater Creek, which sells both clothing and home decor, is shutting down entirely in 2021. In July 2020, the website announced that Coldwater Creek will close all of its retail locations and website. If you want to purchase from this company, now is the time.

Coldwater Creek went bankrupt in 2014. Under the company Sycamore, they hoped to rebrand, but failed to attract younger customers. “The challenging issues brought on by COVID-19 have led us down a path we were not expecting,” Coldwater explained on their website.

Because Of Declining Sales, DSW Shops Are Closing

Shoppers carry a bag from DSW Inc. shoe store.
Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The shoe store DSW plans to close dozens of stores in 2021. In March 2021, the parent company Designer Brands Inc. announced that they will shutter 65 DSW locations over the next three years. Twenty-four will close in 2021.

CEO Roger Rawlins explained that DSW’s sales declined by 34% in 2020. That’s a $489 million net loss. In response, DSW is closing 10% of its brick-and-mortar locations in an effort to save money. In addition, shoe production has decreased by 40% and 25% of employees will be laid off.

Christopher & Banks Will Close Most, If Not All, Of Its Stores

Christopher and Banks clothing store entrance in mall has closing sale signs in the windows.
Don and Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Don and Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In January 2021, Christopher & Banks filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The clothing brand caters to women over 40, and it was hit hard during the COVID pandemic. Even with discounts up to 40% and 60% off, their business still suffered.

Because of this, President and CEO Keri Jones announced that Christopher & Banks “expects to close a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores.” That’s 449 locations shutting down in 2021, according to the liquidation company Hilco Merchant Resources. Forty-four states will be impacted by these closures.

You Cannot Shop At Modell’s After 2021

A modell's sporting goods store is seen from the front.
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Modell’s
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Modell’s

Modell’s is a sporting goods retailer that also focuses on athletic clothes. But by the end of 2021, you cannot shop there anymore. In March 2020, the company filed for bankruptcy. They then decided to liquidate all of their 141 stores in 2021.

According to the New York Post, Modell’s could not compete with Dick’s Sporting Goods. Recently, Dick’s has focused on catering to women’s athletic apparel, which bought out Modell’s market. After 131 years of business, Modell’s seems to be shutting down for good.

Fewer Consumers Are Buying From Banana Republic

A couple walks into a Banana Republic store.
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

In October 2020, Gap Inc.–which owns both Gap and Banana Republic–announced its intentions to gradually leave malls. By 2024, 130 Banana Republic locations will shut down. As of 2017, there were 700 Banana Republic locations, so this is a huge blow to the company.

According to Business Insider, Banana Republic’s sales dropped by 52% in 2020. Because most employees worked from home, the demand for business clothes declined. “Banana Republic continues to focus on taking action to adjust to consumer preferences…as the shift to casual fashion during the stay-at-home requirements has left the brand’s workwear assortment disadvantaged,” the company claimed.

J. Jill Inches Closer To Bankruptcy

The entrance of a J. Jill store is seen in a mall.
Amy Graves/WireImage for BWR Public Relations
Amy Graves/WireImage for BWR Public Relations

The women’s clothing brand J. Jill temporarily closed many of its stores in 2020. After its sales declined by 29% throughout the year, the company announced some permanent closures. They will shut down 20 more locations in 2021, leaving 276 stores in total.

The company has lowered prices on clothing and accessories to promote more sales. But this has not prevented J. Jill from losing $24.1 million in profits. Although it is still alive and kicking, J. Jill slowly inches closer to bankruptcy in 2021.

Sears Is Still Open…But More Stores Are Closing

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Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images
Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Although many people believe that Sears is already out of business, a few stores remain. But they are struggling. In February 2021, the parent company Transformco announced that they will shutter 13 Sears locations by mid-April. That leaves 29 Sears stores.

According to Forbes, Sears had over 3,900 locations in 2010. After Transformco filed for bankruptcy, the number shrank to 489 locations by 2019. The parent company has barely escaped liquidation, but its future is not looking bright. Ben Unglesbee, a senior reporter for Retail Dive, wrote that “it’s getting harder and harder to see how this could possibly end well.”

Justice Will No Longer Exist After 2021

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Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

In November 2020, Ascena Retail Group Inc. announced that Justice will close all of its locations by early 2021. The tween clothing brand went bankrupt in 2020, when it shuttered 600 of its 826 locations. Ascena planned to close the remaining stores after the holidays in 2020.

In autumn, Ascena sold Justice to Bluestar Alliance LLC for $90 million. It also sold many of its other brands, including LOFT and Ann Taylor. Although there is no exact date for the closings, expect there to be no more Justice by 2022.

Even Goodwill Shops Are Disappearing

A former employee walks in front of a shut down goodwill.
Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Believe it or not, the thrift chain Goodwill has been struggling as well. In March 2021, president and CEO Mike Keenan declared that eight Goodwill stores will close in 2021, mainly in the Greater East Bay. They will also lay off 61 employees.

“We have had to make a difficult decision for economic reasons,” Keenan explained. “Our employees are our first priority, and we will continue to do everything we can to support them at this difficult time and fulfill the Goodwill mission in our remaining stores and facilities.”

Zara Plans To Close 1,200 Stores

Shoppers are seen inside of a Zara store at night.
Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images
Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images

In June 2020, Zara announced that it will close 1,200 stores worldwide. That is 16% of its global outlets shutting down within the next two years. Although it is unclear how many stores will close in 2021, at least a few hundred should be liquidated.

Asian and European locations will take the biggest hit, as the demand for online sales increases. The parent company, Inditex, claimed that Zara boutiques will be “stores at the end of their useful life.” The brand will lose nearly half of its stores in 96 countries.

Francesca’s Will Lose Nearly Half Of Its Boutiques

Shoppers walk in front of a Francesca's store.
Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In November 2020, the women’s clothing and accessories brand Francesca’s announced that they will close 140 locations by the end of January 2021. The brand also filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, trying to avoid bankruptcy. But this wasn’t the end.

In December, Francesca’s planned for another 97 stores to close. That’s half of its remaining 551 boutiques that will shut down in 2021. On top of that, Francesca’s did not avoid bankruptcy; it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2021. Hopefully, their e-sales will offer some recovery.

Express Will Liquidate Stores To Save Money

An Express Men store in a mall is empty.
Cindie Mooney/Pinterest
Cindie Mooney/Pinterest

In January 2020, the women’s clothing brand Express announced a turnaround plan for its business. Throughout the next couple of years, they would close 100 of their 600 locations. Thirty-one stores shut down that month, while 35 were scheduled to close in January 2021.

That leaves around 34 Express locations to close throughout 2021. CEO Timothy Baxter claims that these closures will help the brand save $80 million over three years. In December 2020, the company hired Lazard Frères & Co. to aid their finances and help Express survive. Perhaps this is part of the plan.

For The Next Few Years, Chico’s Will Shut Down Stores

A Chico's clothing retail store is seen.
John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Chico’s struggled through 2020, and it closed 40 stores in that year alone. Chico’s is both a store and parent brand which also owns White House | Black Market. In March 2021, the parent company announced that it plans to liquidate 250 stores over the next few years.

For Chico’s clothing specifically, around 50 stores should close by the end of 2021. By the end of 2020, the clothing store lost $79.1 million in net worth. “We enter 2021 as a digital-first, customer-led company,” said the CEO of Chico’s FAS, Molly Langenstein.

New York & Company Is Liquidating All Of Its Stores

The storefront of a New York & Company is seen.
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York & Company, which changed its name to RTW Retailwinds, Inc. in 2018, is slowly dying. In July 2020, the company “launched a store closing and liquidation process.” In other words, it is going to close all of its stores in 2021.

This announcement came shortly after New York & Co. filed for bankruptcy. According to CEO and chief financial advisor Sheamus Toal, the company suffered from a “challenging retail environment” along with the 2020 pandemic. “We expect it to continue to do so in the future,” she said.

Destination Maternity Is Losing Half Of Their Stores

A Destination Maternity shopping bag hangs in a store.
Jason Kempin/Getty Images
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Destination Maternity has the same business model as it did when it went bankrupt in 2019. When that happened, the company announced that they will close 183 stores over the next few years. That is almost half of their 446 brick-and-mortar locations.

Destination Maternity has been struggling for years. According to USA TODAY, the company has gone through five CEOs in the past five years. The maternity clothing brand blames “declining birth rates, high rents and leadership turnover” for the financial decline, along with the COVID-19 pandemic.

J.C. Penney Will Remove 30% Of Its Stores

A JC Penny department store has a
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J.C. Penney is closing more and more stores as time goes on. In May 2020, the company announced a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming that it will shutter 30% of its locations. Since then, it has closed 150 stores. In December 2020, the chain scheduled to close 18 more locations by May 2021.

Since the pandemic began, J.C. Penney has shut down 174 locations. “Our go-forward store count is 672,” the company told USA TODAY. Time will tell whether the brand will shutter more locations later in the year.

The Owner Of Men’s Warehouse Is Shutting Down Stores

Pedestrians walk past a Men's Warehouse Inc. store.
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tailored Brands, the owner of Men’s Warehouse and Jos. A. Bank, is planning to close 500 stores over the next few years. They announced this in December 2020, a few months after they declared bankruptcy. According to the press release, these closed stores will cut 20% of Tailored Brands’ workforce.

Like other clothing brands, Men’s Warehouse has benefitted much more from online sales. During Black Friday weekend in 2020, in-store sales declined by 52%, while online sales increased by 21.6%. Although that is still a net loss, Tailored Brands seems to be focusing on online purchases.

Kmart Is Slowly Dying

Shoppers walk into a Big Kmart that is closing soon.
Tim Boyle/Getty Images
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Since Kmart and Sears are owned by the same parent company, Kmart is also struggling to survive. In February 2021, the brand announced that it will shut down seven of its remaining stores by April. These announcements were made on the shops’ Facebook pages rather than through an official announcement.

Although seven may not sound like a lot, keep in mind that there are just 34 Kmart stores left, most of which are in California. In 2019, there were 360 locations, but bankruptcy has hit Kmart hard. The chain is “slowly dying,” according to Chris Isidore at CNN.