Report: As many as 25K US retail stores could close this year

Report: As many as 25K US retail stores could close this year
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A record number of retail stores could close this year in the U.S. due to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting shutdowns, according to a Tuesday report.

Coresight Research released a report that predicted between 20,000 and 25,000 retail stores would close in 2020, with 55 to 60 percent of those being located in malls, CNBC reported. That would more than double the current record of retail store closures in a year, which was 9,300 in 2019.

In mid-March, during the early stages of the pandemic in the U.S., Coresight Research had forecasted that more than 15,000 retail stores would shut down this year. 

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The research company has counted a total of 4,005 closures by retailers this year, including more than 900 Pier 1 Imports locations, about 300 health chain GNC locations and more than 200 home goods chain Tuesday Morning locations, according to CNBC.

“We expect that a return to pre-crisis levels in offline discretionary retail sales overall will be gradual, as we expect consumer confidence, demand and spending to be short of normal for some time,” Coresight founder and CEO Deborah Weinswig said in the report, according to CNBC. 

“Given that recovery to pre-crisis levels may be gradual, retailers that were struggling to stay in business pre-crisis are unlikely to have the wherewithal to stay the course on the road to recovery and could end up closing a number of stores,” she added. 

Several chains, including Neiman Marcus, Stage Stores, J.C. Penney, Tuesday Morning and J. Crew, have filed for bankruptcy in response to the shutdowns. Most of those chains have said they will close some stores and begin opening again, although Stage Stores has said it may need a buyer to stay afloat. 

Another study from eMarketer estimates that domestic retail sales will drop more than 10 percent this year and won’t reach where they were before the pandemic until 2022. But e-commerce sales are predicted to jump 18 percent in 2020.