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7 Retailers Shuttering Stores To Stay Afloat

    The retail sector entered 2017 on a low note. Multiple firms announced massive store closures and layoffs as the industry struggled to keep its head above water in the fight against e-commerce and shifting consumer trends. Fitting its new classification as the most distressed sector in the U.S. economy, the damage did not stop on Jan. 1. From J.C. Penney to Vanity, here are the seven latest retailers that announced they are shuttering stores following their Q4 earnings reports. 

    1. J.C. Penney

    Store Closures: 130 to 140

    Layoffs: Unannounced

    J.C. Penney recently announced plans to close 130 to 140 stores. That is around 14% of the retailer's total locations, and while the company did not announce layoffs, it said it plans to offer buyouts to 6,000 workers. The firm said it will release the list of stores to close this month and liquidation sales will start by Q2.

    2. Abercrombie & Fitch

    Store Closures: 60

    Layoffs: Unannounced

    Abercrombie & Fitch announced plans to shutter 60 U.S. stores after same-store sales dropped 5% in Q4. The firm is closing stores as leases expire and said it will replace the 60 locations lost with six full-price stores. The teen apparel retailer closed hundreds of stores over the last five years, and with half of the shop's 700 U.S. leases up for renewal next year, it is likely these are not the last to go.

    3. HHGregg

    Store Closures: 88

    Layoffs: 1,500

    Indiana's struggling electronics retailer announced plans to shutter 88 of its weakest locations and eliminate 1,500 of its 5,000 jobs. The closures account for 40% of HHGregg's locations and Bloomberg reported the company is preparing to file for bankruptcy. The firm also said it will close three distribution centers as it struggles to compete with Amazon and competitors like Best Buy.

    4. Wet Seal

    Store Closures: 171

    Layoffs: 148

    Teen apparel retailer Wet Seal filed for its second bankruptcy last month after preparing to close all 171 locations. Investment firm Gordon Brothers recently bought Wet Seal's intellectual property and brand assets for $3M at a bankruptcy auction. While only 148 corporate layoffs have been announced, far more are likely to follow in the near future as analysts expect Gordon Brothers to keep the brand alive only online.

    5. Crocs

    Store Closures: 160

    Layoffs: Unannounced

    After reporting a 10% drop in sales during Q4, Crocs announced plans to close 160 stores over the next two years. Those stores account for nearly 30% of the shoemaker's total locations, and while layoffs have not been announced, Crocs has cut jobs in the past when closing shops. Crocs also announced CEO Gregg Ribatt will step down and be replaced by current president Andrew Rees on June 1.

    6. Vanity

    Store Closures: 140

    Layoffs: Up to 1,700

    North Dakota-based women's clothing chain Vanity announced plans to shutter all 140 of its stores and file for bankruptcy protection. The company said it could not compete with online retail, and while layoffs have not been announced, the chain currently employs over 100 people at its corporate headquarters and up to 1,700 people in total.

    7. Family Christian Stores

    Store Closures: 240

    Layoffs: 3,000

    Known as one of the largest Christian-themed national retailers, Family Christian stores announced last month via its website that it will liquidate all 240 of its stores after 85 years of doing business. The retailer has been combating spiraling same-store sales after filing for Chapter 11 protection in 2015, and will be forced to lay off more than 3,000 employees in 36 states as a result.