This year is going to go down as the worst year on record for brick-and-mortar retail.
Retailers have announced plans to shutter more than 6,700 stores across the U.S. this year, CNN cited retail think-tank Fung Global Retail & Technology as saying. That beats the previous all-time high of 6,163 store closings that occurred during the 2008 financial meltdown (according to estimates by Credit Suisse).
The trend gathered pace again Wednesday as Walgreens’ (wba) revealed it intends to close about 600 locations. The drug store chain recently struck a deal to acquire 1,932 Rite Aid (rad) stores and as a result, those Rite Aid locations nearest to already-existing stores have become redundant.
Online shopping and fast fashion have made inroads nearly everywhere in the sector. The Wall Street Journal reported Nike (nike) as telling investors Wednesday that it expects more of its sales to move online, saying that “undifferentiated, mediocre retail won’t survive. Department store Nordstrom (jwn), meanwhile, said earlier this week it expected half of its sales to be online within five years. And while department stores have been especially hard hit (Sears and Kmart being prime examples), the trend has also hit more specialized retailers from The Limited to Gap and Foot Locker.
Analysts have approached the end of 2017 with a bleak outlook, expecting the year’s final total of store closures to be woefully high. Back in April, Credit Suisse released a report projecting figures as high as 8,600 store closures by the year’s end. That’s around 147 million square feet of retail space.
More than 300 retailers had filed for bankruptcy as of June this year, according to data from BankruptcyData.com.