Why Are So Many Stores Closing In 2020? The Retail Industry’s Downward Spiral

Elly Belle

The big brands you’ve filled your bedrooms and closets with, and the stores you’ve spent hours wandering around, are falling like dominoes in 2020. Retail is taking a monumental hit this year, with stores across the country announcing closures and bankruptcies. For some, this signals the end of fast fashion for brands like Forever 21 which are online shoppable. For others, it could be a monster of our own making — this week, Papyrus announced closures, which we suspect could be a result of millennials and Gen Z-ers moving past the whole greeting card industry.

The way we shop in 2020 is certainly telling (cc: Amazon) and perhaps indicative of the specific stores that are out of business already this year. But is this really just a millennial problem? Or is it just that, given the way that capitalism works, the retail industry has been steadily declining and no one has the money to shop the way we did before? It’s both, when you boil it down. Even the biggest brands just can’t compete with the comfort of shopping from your computer.

With 2017 being dubbed the beginning of the “retail apocalypse” (though many kinds of big stores experienced closures before then, ahem, Blockbuster), the downward trajectory for retail continues. Retail sales took a hit in late 2019, going down .3% according to The Commerce Department. It’s worth looking at how many stores have already announced closures this year, including former retail giants like Forever 21. Even giant grocery stores like Fairway have been rumored to start closing soon. Now, in the continuation of the retail apocalypse, more than 2,000 stores are closing this year. We’ve rounded up some of the stores that are closing in 2020 below.

Bed, Bath & Beyond

Across the country, a total of 44 Bed, Bath & Beyond stores are closing. In a statement this month, the company said it will be closing 40 stores by the end of its fiscal year in April and 20 more before the end of its fiscal 2020 year. Approximately 16 stores have closed already in big states like Texas and New York. Say goodbye to your home goods and test out those comfy beds while you can, folks. Christopher Walken won’t be hiding in the Beyond section anymore!

Papyrus

Don’t worry, the greeting card industry isn’t totally dead right before Valentine’s Day–however, this staple in the gifts and paper goods community will be closing its doors abruptly. The company announced recently that all of its stores will be closed within the next six weeks, if not sooner. According to data from the National Retail Federation, people just aren’t spending on greeting cards the way they used to anymore, with only 44 percent of people surveyed by them saying they plan to spend on cards for the holiday.

Pier 1 Imports

At the beginning of the year, Pier 1 announced its plan to close 450 stores across the country and fire hundreds of employees. The home goods store has been struggling after years of falling sales and mounting competition from online companies like Wayfair, as well as cheaper options like Walmart, which has introduced its own chic lines recently.

Forever 21

Oh, the days of fast fashion do seem to be coming to a close, but the souvenirs of cheap camisoles and leggings in our closets will last forever (read: another week). After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this past year, Forever 21 is set to close 350 stores around the globe. Despite its name, it would seem that under the ebbs and flows of capitalism, nothing truly lasts forever.

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