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Toys R Us files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, stores closing after holidays?

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Toys R Us store in Luton, England. Photo credit: Getty Images
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If you’ve been following Clark.com lately, you may have noticed that 2017 hasn’t been a good year for some retailers that many people know and love. Toys R Us is the latest store to fall into financial trouble.

Other major chains, including Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Sears and Kmart, have announced sweeping closures.

2017 retail closings: What you need to know

On the radio show, Clark explained that the retailers on this list are closing stores because they’re not giving people what they want in terms of things like price, fashion and selection.

As a result, shoppers are increasingly turning to online and discount merchants for better deals.

The reality is that America has been over-stored. We have far too many retail locations, shopping centers and branches of different chains. But stores that are meeting your needs with low prices will continue to thrive.

In the meantime, here’s our updated list of major retailers that are closing stores in 2017:

Breaking News

Toys R Us files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, stores closings inevitable

On Tuesday, Toys R Us announced that it has filed for bankruptcy as part of a financial restructuring that was done “proactively and voluntarily.”

“To achieve our financial objectives, Toys R Us and some of our U.S. subsidiaries and our Canadian subsidiary proactively and voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the U.S.,” the company said in a statement.

RELATED: The harsh reality of what’s happening to America’s shopping malls

The iconic Wayne, New Jersey-based toy store said that the company’s Canadian subsidiary also began bankruptcy proceedings but its Asia properties will not be affected.

“We are confident that this financial restructuring is the best path forward to ensure that Toys R Us can invest in our business, continue to improve our customers’ experience and strengthen our competitive position,” the company said. “We are confident that this financial restructuring is the best path forward to ensure that Toys R Us can invest in our business, continue to improve our customers’ experience and strengthen our competitive position,” the company said.

There was no immediate announcement of any store closings, but news reports said that court documents filed by the company indicated that store closings and an overhaul that focused on smaller stores were part of a restructuring plan.

As part of the process, the company said it was “currently performing a detailed review of their real estate portfolio,” according to Northjersey.com. The bankruptcy filing, one of the largest in retail history, comes just as stores begin getting ready for the holiday season, which is typically the one time of the year when the industry can recoup their losses and get into the black.

Money expert Clark Howard said that trouble began brewing when the company’s many vendors began to demand that they be paid, stripping Toys R Us of any financial flexibility and touching off bankruptcy proceedings.

Children can still expect to buy toys from the retailer this Christmas — but Scrooge-like tactics, including mass store closings and tough lease renegotiations will soon follow, experts said.

“The timing of all this could not have been worse,” Toys Chairman and Chief Executive Dave Brandon said in documents filed in bankruptcy court in Richmond, Va., the website said.

Department stores

Sears & Kmart – 28 additional stores

Sears Holdings announced August 24 that it’s closing an additional 28 struggling Kmart locations. Liquidation sales will begin as early as August 31 and most of the stores will close by mid-November.

In a news release, the company said it has already closed approximately 180 Sears and Kmart stores in fiscal year 2017 and will close another 150 previously announced locations by the end of the third quarter.

The company says it’s working to transform its business model so that its physical store footprint and digital capabilities match the needs of customers.

Here are the 28 closing Kmart locations:

  • 1445 S Power Road Mesa AZ
  • 23222 W Valencia Blvd Valencia CA
  • 10500 Wichlow Way Jackson / Martell CA
  • 10400 Rosecrans Bellflower CA
  • 16968 Main Street Hesperia CA
  • 15200 E Colfax Avenue Aurora CO
  • 200 W Belleview Englewood CO
  • 100 Main Street North Southbury CT
  • 900 N Miami Beach Blvd North Miami Beach FL
  • 5590 Mableton Pkwy Mableton GA
  • 4101 W 95Th St Oaklawn IL
  • 7230 Westfield Plaza Dr Belleville IL
  • 265 S Illinois Rte 83 Elmhurst IL
  • 1740 Sw Wanamaker Road Topeka KS
  • 7601 23 Mile Road Utica / Shelby Township MI
  • 4001 N Euclid Avenue Bay City MI
  • 545 West Sanilac Sandusky MI
  • 401 Route 38 Moorestown NJ
  • 808 Route 46 Parsippany NJ
  • 810 Paul Road Rochester (Chili) NY
  • 10 Cobblestone Court Drive Victor NY
  • 374 Windsor Hwy, Rte 32 Vails Gate (New Windsor) NY
  • 2600 Lincoln Way E Massillon OH
  • 2470 Mission Se Salem OR
  • 2620 Moreland Road Willow Grove PA
  • 4701 Tilghman Street Allentown PA
  • 296 Garfield Ave Cranston RI
  • 1610 Church St Conway SC

J.C. Penney – 138 stores

These 10 retailers are closing more than 1,000 stores in 2017

More than 100 J.C. Penney department store locations closed forever in late July.

The struggling retailer announced plans to close 138 stores back in March, but it postponed liquidation sales until May due to increased foot traffic.

Nearly all of the stores shut down July 31, except for a few staying open until September.

Macy’s – 68 stores

These 10 retailers are closing more than 1,000 stores in 2017

Macy’s isn’t finished shrinking its retail footprint quite yet.

The struggling department store chain confirmed in February that it plans to close about 34 stores “over the next few years” after shutting down nearly 70 locations in fiscal year 2016.

The company has not yet revealed which locations may soon be on the chopping block.

RELATED: 5 big changes coming to Macy’s in 2017

Other retailers

Vitamin World – 51 stores

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 01: A clothes shop tries to sell the last of its stock before closing down on February 1, 2012 in Stoke-On-Trent, England. Staffordshire has borne the brunt of the economic downturn with the loss of 21,100 manufacturing jobs which have fallen from 74,200 in 2006/07 to 53,100 in 2010/11, the highest in the UK according to a survey by the GMB union. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Vitamin World has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to close dozens of underperforming stores, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Newsday reports that the company will shut down at least 51 of its 334 stores — many of which are located in malls — nationwide.

In a message posted to Facebook, Vitamin World reassured customers that it’s not going out of business and will continue to serve customers for years to come.

Gap – 200 stores

Gap Inc. plans to close 200 Gap and Banana Republic locations over the next three years, the company announced September 6. No list of the stores was released, but they are all “underperforming.”

At the same time, Gap Inc. plans to open 270 locations for its growing brands, Old Navy and Athleta.

“Over the past two years, we’ve made significant progress evolving how we operate – starting with getting great product into the hands of our customers, more consistently and faster than ever before,” said Art Peck, president and chief executive officer of Gap Inc. “With much of this foundation in place, we’re now shifting our focus to growth. We will leverage our iconic brands and significant scale to deliver growth by shifting to where our customers are shopping – online, value and active.”

The company said it expects Old Navy to exceed $10 billion and Athleta to exceed $1 billion in net sales in the next few years.

Perfumania – 64 stores

Discount perfume retailer Perfumania filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late August and plans to close 64 of its 226 stores, CNN Money reported.

In a news release, the retailer said it will emerge as a privately-held company after the restructuring.

“This process will allow us to more quickly adapt to the shift in consumer shopping habits by focusing more of our resources on implementing our e-commerce strategy, making Perfumania a stronger and more competitive company,” said Michael Katz, Perfumania President and Chief Executive Officer.

No list of the affected locations was released, but Perfumania has been reducing its retail store portfolio by accelerating the closure of under-performing stores and stores in locations affected by declining mall traffic.

Looking ahead, Perfumania plans invest in its e-commerce business to improve customers’ online shopping experience.

Teavana – 379 stores

Bad news for tea lovers! Starbucks is closing every single one of its Teavana retail stores after a strategic review of the business.

Many of the 379 Teavana stores, which are primarily mall-based, have been underperforming. Starbucks said it tried to improve sales through creative merchandising and new store designs, but it just wasn’t working.

The stores will close over the coming year, with the majority shutting down by next spring, according to a news release.

The approximately 3,300 employees who will lose their jobs as a result of the closures will have the opportunity to apply at Starbucks stores.

Starbucks said it plans to create 68,000 jobs in the U.S. over the next five years.

Gymboree – 350 stores

The Gymboree Corporation is moving forward with plans to close hundreds of locations as it works to restructure in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

After filing for bankruptcy protection in June, the struggling children’s clothing retailer says it will close approximately 350 stores, mostly across its Gymboree and Crazy 8 brands. The company also operates Janie and Jack stores.

Closing sales at affected stores are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, July 18. Here’s the list of stores closing.

True Religion – 27 stores

Designer jeans and clothing retailer True Religion has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

“After a careful review, we are taking an important step to reduce our debt, reinvigorate True Religion’s iconic brand and position the company for future growth and success,” said John Ermatinger, President and CEO of True Religion.

At least 27 stores are expected to close during the bankruptcy process, according to a list compiled by USA Today.

Reuters reports that a True Religion executive blamed the company’s struggles on the growth of “athleisure” – casual clothing designed for both exercise and everyday wear.

The retailer hopes to emerge from bankruptcy in about four months.

Ascena Retail Group – At least 268 stores

Ascena Retail Group, the women’s clothing retailer that owns the brands Ann Taylor, Loft, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant, Justice and several others, is planning to close hundreds of stores.

During a recent earnings call, company executives announced that 667 stores are part of its fleet optimization program.

At least 268 of those stores will definitely be closed by July 2019. The remaining 399 stores will be shut down if rent concessions aren’t obtained through negotiations with landlords.

The company didn’t specify which locations will be closed.

Michael Kors – 100 to 125 stores

Michael Kors is closing between 100 and 125 of its retail stores over the next two years.

According to a May 31 news release, the company is making the move to improve the profitability of its store fleet. Revenue was down in the most recent quarter.

The clothing and handbag retailer didn’t reveal a list of the stores on the chopping block.

Payless ShoeSource – 512 stores and counting…

In April, Payless ShoeSource announced that about 400 of its roughly 4,400 stores would be closing immediately. The closures took place in nearly every state across the country.

Now as part of its ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Payless has announced the closure of 112 more stores.

The discount footwear chain is also petitioning the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Missouri to allow the shuttering of another nearly 300 stores.

If approved, that would bring the total amount of stores closed to over 800.

RELATED: Payless wants to shutter 400+ more stores after first round of closures

Bebe Stores – 180 stores

Women’s clothing retailer Bebe Stores shut down all of its roughly 180 locations nationwide.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission dated April 21, the company said it expected to close all stores by the end of May after liquidation sales.

The retailer’s future remains unclear, though some speculate it will continue as an online-only merchant.

Rue21 – 400 stores

Teen clothing retailer rue21 has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In a May 15 news release, rue21 said it has entered into agreements with its lenders to reduce the company’s debt and provide additional capital in support of its restructuring.

In April, the retailer began the process of closing about 400 of its 1,179 stores in order to focus on its more successful locations.

A message on rue21.com read, “It’s true – we are closing some stores. It was a difficult but necessary decision. But the good news is we still have hundreds of locations across the country, and our website rue21.com, open for business!”

Rue21 said it expects to continue normal business operations during the Chapter 11 reorganization process.

RadioShack – 1,000 stores

After 96 years in business, consumer electronics retailer RadioShack will have just 70 corporate and 500 dealer stores nationwide — down from 7,300 at its peak.

Over the Memorial Day holiday, RadioShack closed more than 1,000 stores across the country.

“At the end of this month, RadioShack will be closing its doors at all but 70 retail store locations as we migrate to RadioShack.com and we cannot thank you, the RadioShack family, enough for sharing in the journey throughout the years,” the company said in a news release.

The retailer is holding a memorabilia online auction through July 3, according to RadioShack.com.

Abercrombie & Fitch – 60 stores

You can add Abercrombie & Fitch to the growing list of retailers that will be closing stores this year.

According to a news release, the company plans to shut down about 60 U.S. locations during fiscal 2017 as leases expire. Fortune reports that A&F will have 670 remaining stores, down from 839 just five years ago.

Guess – 60 stores

Guess is planning to pull the plug on 60 of its stores this year.

CEO Victor Herrero told analysts of the decision during a Q4 earnings call on March 15.  It’s expected that most of the closures will be among the flagship Guess brand stores and Marciano locations.

Guess brands operate 945 retail stores in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Some 400 of those stores are in the United States.

Crocs – 160 stores

Crocs announced in a March 1 press release that the brand will be trimming some 160 stores from its 558-store portfolio by the end of 2018.

The Limited – 250 stores

After more than 50 years in business, The Limited closed all of its nearly 250 stores across the country on January 8. The retailer indicated that its website would live on, but no merchandise is for sale.

Wet Seal – 171 stores

Bankrupt clothing store Wet Seal shut down all of its 171 stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. A message on the retailer’s website read, “Thanks babe, it’s been real.”

American Apparel – 110 stores

Made in the USA clothing manufacturer American Apparel has closed its remaining 110 stores.

According to a news release from January 10, Canada-based Gildan Activewear’s $88 million bid at a bankruptcy auction won the rights to American Apparel’s brand and some assets.

However, retail store assets were not part of the purchase, according to Gildan.

BCBG – 120 stores

High-end women’s clothing chain BCBG is closing about 120 stores, mostly in the U.S., according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The Star Tribune reported in early February that liquidation sales have started and are expected to run eight to 10 weeks before the stores close for good.

The company’s mini-shops within Macy’s will remain open.

Gander Mountain – Undetermined

After filing for bankruptcy in March, outdoors retailer Gander Mountain has a new owner.

Liquidation sales are being held at all 126 stores, but Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis, the new owner, says he intends to keep dozens of locations open.

A final list of stores has not been released, but Lemonis is providing updates on Twitter.

hhgregg  – 220 stores

After more than six decades, electronics retailer hhgregg is going out of business.

Liquidation sales have begun at the retailer’s 132 stores, which will close by the end of May. In March, the company announced the closure of 88 locations.

The news comes after hhgregg failed to find a buyer by its April 7 deadline.

GameStop – 150+ stores

After reporting a drop in fourth quarter sales, GameStop announced March 24 that it plans to close between 2% to 3% of its global store footprint, which means at least 150 stores.

GameStop has struggled due to weak sales of certain video games and “aggressive console promotions” from its competitors.

Staples – 70 stores

Staples said in March that it will close 70 locations throughout North America by the end of 2017.

During a recent earnings call, Staples said same store sales in North America were down 7% during the fourth quarter of 2016. The drop in sales was blamed on lower foot traffic.

RELATED: Staples to shutter 70 stores in 2017

CVS  – 70 stores

Back in December 2016, we first told you that CVS had plans to close 70 locations across the country in early 2017.

In late February, we began to get the first reports from local media about exactly which locations already have been or will soon be shuttered, including more than 10 stores in Illinois.

RELATED: New list: These CVS locations will be closing soon

Family Christian – 240 stores

Family Christian, the biggest seller of Christian books and merchandise in the nation, announced February 23 that 240 stores in 36 states would be permanently closed by May 13.

RELATED: Family Christian closing all 240+ locations

Clark’s takeaway: Use those gift cards ASAP!

“If you have any gift cards in your home that are for major retailers, I want you to go and shop. I want you to use them up,” Clark said. “And when you don’t know what to give somebody, give them a nice card and give them cash. You don’t have to worry about the store closing when you give them cash.”

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Mike Timmermann About the author:
Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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