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Retail Chain Openings Outpace Closures To Start 2021


For once, retail in the U.S. has a positive story to tell.

Among U.S. chain retailers, announced store openings for this year account for more square footage than announced store closures, according to Coresight Research's monthly U.S. Store Tracker Extra report. So far, 3,597 openings have either been executed or announced, totaling 49.7M SF. Closures total 3,395, representing 44.3M SF.

For both openings and closures, the first four months of 2021 were substantially more active than the previous year. Only 2,472 openings and 2,191 closures had been announced by the end of April 2020, according to Coresight. 

No retailer has announced more closures this year so far than Francesca's, which plans to close 342 stores this year, representing 49% of its 2020 store count. Bed Bath & Beyond will close at least 246 stores this year totaling 8.4M SF, easily the largest footprint to go dark among any retailer but representing only 16% of its total store count. Macy's has announced 45 store closures totaling nearly 7M SF, which represents 7% of the 613 stores in its portfolio at the end of 2020.

In terms of store openings, dollar stores are absolutely dominant in the U.S. Dollar General has announced the opening of over 1,000 new stores totaling nearly 11M SF. Both figures are the most of any company in the U.S., but the 1,000 new stores amount to only a 6% increase of Dollar General's total U.S. store count. In second place in both categories, Dollar Tree has announced 393 new stores this year totaling over 5M SF.


Though spending has been on the rise in recent months as economic conditions improve, the amount of turnover still is reflective of an unsettled retail environment in which long-term coronavirus pandemic effects have yet to fully reveal themselves. Brookfield Property Partners gave off a sign of pessimism this week when it gave three malls back to lenders, Chain Store Age reports.

The weight of store openings also might be felt more by larger chains than smaller businesses, as food spending has gravitated significantly toward franchises in the past year. Smaller retailers may not have the requisite capital to take advantage of spending boosts from consumers as they struggle to get back up to speed.