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DFW Retail Faces New Headwinds After Losing Hundreds Of Jobs In 2019

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the Dallas-Fort Worth retail industry faced an uncertain future.

More than 1,000 retail-related jobs were lost in 2019 across North Texas, according to layoff notices filed with the Texas Workforce Commission.


Some of the largest contributors to 2019 DFW retail staffing reductions were Kohl's (with 330 job cuts at a customer service center), Sears Fashion Distribution Center (84 jobs), Signet Jewelers (122 jobs), Walmart (415 jobs) and Payless ShoeSource (75 jobs).

Heading into 2020, analysts feared North Texas-based retailers JCPenney & Co. and Neiman Marcus were heading for bankruptcy. 

Neiman’s is reportedly in talks with its creditors about filing for bankruptcy reorganization now, and Fort Worth-based Pier 1 Imports already announced bankruptcy reorganization plans earlier this year. 

All of this turmoil occurred before the economy stalled in mid-March, which means retailers have the misfortune of moving into even more turbulent territory while already standing on shaky ground.   

While the spread of COVID-19 is a challenge for the entire economy, National Retail Federation data predicts an especially dire outcome for the retail sector, even if just temporarily. 

In a letter submitted by retail associations to the White House, retail advocates using NRF data predicted the sector will see 20% of its sales fall in three months, losing $429B in direct and indirect sales and potentially taking out 1.7 million U.S. retail jobs. 

On the other hand, necessity-based retail is keeping some centers and stores in a place of strength. 

A CBRE report on the impact of COVID-19 concludes retail, while in a tough spot overall, is a mixed bag with enclosed malls, restaurants and gyms definitely taking a hit. But, centers with grocery and pharmaceutical anchor tenants are in a very strong position.