A Retail Apocalypse: The Iconic Brands We Love That Are Saying Farewell To Branches in 2020

Mon Dec 23 2019

For many of these flagship brands, it feels like they’ve been around since the beginning of time. With their distinctive logos, they now hold a nostalgic place in retail history. We’ve grown up with them, strolled through their stores, savored their food and thought they would be with us forever.

That was until we heard about the biggest phenomenon to hit these stores in modern times, the retail apocalypse. With the advent of online shopping and effortless browsing at our fingertips, this has spelled doom for the world of retail. A staggering amount of our beloved stores and restaurants have been forced to close their doors in 2019. So you better hurry up before they’re gone, these brands are set to close more stores in 2020.

Pizza Hut is Losing 500 Branches

With our endless love for stuffed-cruft pizzas, the Pizza Hut brand will always hold a special place in our deep-pan pizza binging hearts. The Italian-American menu is filled with every kind of cheese-flavored dish we could imagine and has been a firm childhood favorite since 1958.

From its humble beginnings in Kansas, the iconic fast-food chain has since become a household name and multiplied to almost 18,431 stores around the globe. It’s also a subsidiary of Yum! Brands. However, sadly, they announced they would be closing 500 under-performing branches by 2021.

Gap is Saying Farewell To 230 Stores

With their trademark hooded sweaters and impossibly comfy sweatpants, there’s no better brand we’d love to snuggle up on the sofa with than Gap. The family-friendly fashion and homeware retailer is actually family-owned too. It was founded by the Fisher clan in 1969.

The Gap brand was designed to appeal to all ages and sizes and became a worldwide sensation, with 3,688 stores globally. The brand also owns other household names like Old Navy and Banana Republic. However, they recently broke the uncomfortable news that they will be scaling back this year and will say farewell to 230 stores.

Applebee’s Will Lose 120 Restaurants

Applebee’s has fast become everybody’s favorite neighborhood grill and restaurant chain. Their delicious dishes have become cult comfort classics, from the trademarked burgers to quesadillas. And who could forget their signature dish, the ‘riblets.’ It seems like this chain has been around forever, but it was only initiated by Bill and T. J Palmer in 1980.

From his small beginnings, Applebee’s fast became a family-favorite neighborhood franchise. and made their mark with 1,830 restaurants globally. Recently they announced the closure of 120 branches which were not performing too well, so you should get your Applebee’s fix before they’re gone.

H&M Will Close 160 High Street Stores

The iconic Swedish brand that we all know and love has been going strong since 1947. H&M then branched out and opened its first flagship store outside Scandanavia, in London in 1976. With its affordable high-street fashion concept, the store has been a go-to favorite for basics and fast-fashion trends ever since.

The pioneering retailer made its presence felt to 4,500 stores worldwide and was all set for global domination. However, while they are booming, the H&M’s in the U.S. are showing slower growth and they plan to close 160 stores. The good news is they’re planning to open more stores in other parts of the world.

Footlocker Will Shutdown 150 Stores

The flagship U.S. sportswear and footwear retailer that we couldn’t live without was originally formed in 1879 as part of Woolworth’s. It then became an independent brand in 1988, and is still popular, with 3,363 stores in 28 countries globally.

The sneaker industry is booming right now, and Foot Locker is home to every type of sportswear brand you could wish for. So shouldn’t it be booming too? Well, not all of Foot Focker’s stores are performing too well. So the company plans to scale back on 150 underperforming stores in 2020. Interestingly, they plan to spend $275 million to revamp some of its high performing stores.

Starbucks Will Scale down by 150 Branches

For coffee-fans far and wide, Starbucks really is life. With their trademarked selection of flavored Frappuccinos, seasonal Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and their ability to cater to the pickiest of coffee-fans, the flagship brand is now one of the most popular coffeehouse chains around the world.

The chain was first launched in Seattle in 1971 and in 2019 the franchise still dominates the market. They have made their mark with 30,000 locations globally. While they are still branching out, they announced the closure of 150 underperforming stores. This is because there were many competing Starbucks in the same neighborhood. Still, you’re bound to find another branch on the next block!

Forever 21 Will Say Goodbye To 350 Branches

The American fast-fashion retail brand, Forever 21 has been going strong since 1984. Since the first store in LA, it has been keeping fans on top of the latest trends and forever young for over 30 years. With its trendy offerings and affordable prices, the popular brand swelled to 700 stores globally.

While Forever 21 is a fashion favorite among trendy shoppers, and we thought they’s be here to stay forever, sadly, in 2019 the company filed for bankruptcy. They then announced some structural changes to preserve the forever future of the brand. Unfortunately, this included the closure of 350 stores around the U.S., Asia, and Europe in 2020.

The Children’s Place is Closing 300 Branches

The Children’s Place has been a go-to spot for affordable children’s fashion and accessories since 1961. For most of us, even the logo musters up an overwhelming sense of childhood nostalgia. Over the generations, the company branched out to cover 1,085 stores throughout the U.S., plus 90 international franchises.

Sadly, the once-booming company has succumbed to the same fate as the other graveyard retail stores this year. Due to poor retail sales, since 2018 they began to shut down 191 branches. This will grow to a total of 300 branches by 2020. The move is also part of a shift towards digital commerce, so you still have a chance to buy online.

Ruby Tuesday Will Lose 150 Branches

Since 1972, the Ruby Tuesday restaurant chain has become a staple in American culture. The flagship brand that began in Tennessee is the epitome of “simple, fresh American casual dining.” Some of our seasoned favorites include all-American specialties, like hamburgers, chicken, and steak.

Over the years the familiar chain spread to 945 locations globally. In 2007 they acquired other brands like Wok Hay and ventured into other concepts. Sadly their sales began to dwindle and they were forced to scale back. In 2017 the company was sold to a private firm and they were down to 491 stores. They have since announced the closure of 135 more branches.

Bed Bath & Beyond Will Close 60 Stores

Since 1971, Bed Bath & Beyond has offered us all a little slice of homeware heaven. The chain is packed with home essentials, from luxurious linens to the latest kitchen gadgets. For most families, the store is a Saturday shopping staple. With the growth of their concept stores, some even make it into a day-long shopping outing.

Over time the company grew to 1,500 stores, which includes all its brands.
The iconic company is now part of the Fortune 500 list and is ranked on the Forbes World’s Best Employer’s list. However, Bed Bath & Beyond is another victim of the retail apocalypse. They received mixed sales results in 2019, so have announced the closure of 60 stores.

Sears Will Say Farewell to 100 Stores

Since 1906, Sears’ flagship chain of department stores has been a sentimental household name and is still very much a part of the fabric of American society. After starting as a mail-order firm, the brand has shifted and evolved through the years, just like the evolving nature of American consumer culture.

In its heydey in the 1980s, Sears was the largest retailer in the U.S., and in the 1990s the company merged with other brands like Kmart. However, it has fallen victim to the sliding sales phenomenon too, and sadly announced bankruptcy in 2018. They then announced they would remain open, but will shrink from 425 stores to 222 stores in 2019. After this, they broke the news of another 100 branch closures.

Tesla Will Abandon 100 Branches

Established in 2003, Tesla Motors impressed us all with their uber-cool collection of groundbreaking electric concept cars and solar panels. With the help of the high-profile CEO, Elon Musk, after 10 years on the market, the company ranked as the world’s best-selling plug-in car manufacturer in 2018.

The company seemed untouchable and the profits were still rolling in. However, the company announced a major restructure to help reduce operating costs and shift towards online commerce. So they announced the closure of 100 branches. While it seems strange to order a car online without a test-drive, customers can still drive it for a week and return it.

A.C Moore is Saying Goodbye to 145 Stores

For creative and crafty fans, A.C Moore Arts and Crafts became a one-stop-shop for all our arty needs. Whether you’re a knitting fan, a home decor enthusiast or a painting novice, it became a go-to place to browse new hobbies and find everything we didn’t know we needed and more.

After being established in 1985 in New Jersey, the beloved chain enlarged to cover 141 stores across the east coast of the U.S. It was then purchased by Sbar’s, an art supply distributor in 2011. Sadly, due to lackluster sales, the company slipped into liquidation and announced the closure of all 145 stores.

Charlotte Russe Will Shut Down 500 Branches

Since 1975, the Californian-based retail chain, Charlotte Russe has been the ultimate source of trendy and affordable fashion for women in their teens and twenties. The company became a popular choice for fast-fashion bargain hunters and branched out to 560 stores across the U.S.

In these uncertain times, even the trendiest stores couldn’t escape the impending fate that other brands have endured. After a “dramatic decrease in sales and in-store traffic,” the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019 and closed 94 stores. They then announced they will liquidate the remaining 416 branches, much to the dismay of Charlotte Russe fans.

Payless ShoeSource Will Lose 2,500 Branches

For those of us with a brazen shoe addiction, Payless Shoesource has been saving us a shoe fortune since 1956 with their discount footwear. In the 1980s, the chain became famous for its line of Pro Wings discount sneakers. At its peak, the brand became the largest family-owned company in the U.S.

The booming company multiplied to 2,500 retail stores worldwide. In 2012 it was then purchased by three companies, including Wolverine World Wide. Sales didn’t go so smoothly after this, and in 2017 the struggling company filed for bankruptcy and shut down 400 stores. After some restructuring, they bounced back, before filing for bankruptcy again in 2019. They then announced the closure of 2,500 stores across the U.S.

HomeTown Buffet Will Lose 217 Restaurants

Since 1983, the HomeTown Buffet restaurant chain has been there for all our self-serving buffet needs. With it’s homely, family atmosphere and a delicious selection of grilled and comfort food dishes, you could literally eat your heart out for under $15.

The buffet chain is a subsidiary of Ovation Brands, and at its peak, it grew to 250 stores. However, in 2008 they filed for bankruptcy. Ovation Brands was also recently bought by Food Management, and in 2016, they filed for bankruptcy too. Sadly, Home Town Buffet was one of the subsidiaries that felt the sales slump and 217 restaurants were planned for closures.

Family Dollar Will Lose 400 Stores

In the spirit of bargain-hunting, the Family Dollar store chain has been saving families a fortune on everyday essentials since 1959. The first store was the brainchild of a 21-year-old entrepreneur, Leon Levine, and the ingenious concept turned out to be a multi-billion dollar idea.

The variety store brand has since become a household name and spread its wings to cover 8,000 locations. However, in 2014 the beloved family brand was purchased by Dollar Tree. As a result of this structural shakeup, and the struggle to survive in the current retail landscape, the company also announced the shut down of 400 stores.

Chico’s Will Say Farwell to 250 Branches

Back in 1983, Chico’s Folk Art Specialties was started by Marvin and Helene Gralnick in Mexico. Interestingly, they chose the name Chico’s after being inspired by their friend’s parrot. The chain fast evolved into the popular women’s clothing boutique empire that we all know and love.

With its sophisticated and fashion-savvy appeal, the unique store became known for its bold prints and statement jewelry. Chico’s became a retail sensation and swelled to 1,557 boutiques. However, due to the changing shopping trends, the company announced they will shut down 250 stores, and shift towards online commerce.

Toys “R” Us To Close Down All U.S. Stores

The iconic toy retailer, Toys “R” Us, has been making children’s birthday, and holiday shopping dreams come true since 1948. From its humble beginnings as a furniture store, the flagship store became an international toy, clothing and video game brand, and now holds a sentimental place in retail history.

Over time, the chain dominated the toy market and branched out to 1,600 stores globally. However, due to the shift in shopping habits and fierce competition, the brand filed for bankruptcy in 2017. They downsized to 735 U.S. stores in 2018 and then announced the closure of all stores in the U.S. The company has since rebranded as Tru Kids and is slowly trying to bounce back to its former toy glory.

Carl’s Jr. Will Shut Down 150 Branches

The infamous fast-food chain, Carl’s Jr. was established by Carl Karcher and wife in 1941. It was initially branded as Carl’s Drive-In-Barbeque and gained infamy for its signature char-broiled burgers. The company soon became a household name and rebranded as Car’s Jr. in 1956.

As their menu diversified, the fast-food chain experienced major expansion too. The brand became known for its racy advertising campaigns, like the “Six Million Dollar Burger” ad with Paris Hilton. Carl’s Jr. also acquired the company Hardee’s and opened 3,664 branches across the world. However, Carl’s isn’t immune to the retail apocalypse either and announced the closure of 150 branches in 2020.

K Mart Will Close the Door to 45 Stores

Sadly, another flagship department store brand on our ever-growing list is K-Mart. The American big-box department store has a long shopping legacy that dates back to 1899 and was originally started as S.S Kresge Corporation. In 1977, it was rebranded as Kmart.

At its peak in the 1990s, Kmart branched out to a massive 2,486 stores globally. Sadly the KMart bubble burst in 2002, and it filed for bankruptcy. Thankfully they were purchased by Sears and made a comeback. Still, this didn’t last long and sales have been sliding. In 2018 they announced a second bankruptcy and a new wave of 45 store closures.

RadioShack Will Lose 552 Stores

RadioShack has now become a pop staple in American consumer culture. The family-owned electrical retailer was started in 1921 and became a go-to hotspot for all our electrical needs. Over the years, the chain has changed management and rebranded to Tandy and back.

The company then rolled out 500 stores around the world, but have also ridden the tide of consumerism trends. In 2015 they filed for bankruptcy. The assets were then purchased by General Wireless but they filed for bankruptcy again in 2017. After this, they announced the shutdown of 552 stores and shift to an e-commerce store.

Gymboree Will Lose 800 Stores

Since 1986, the iconic children’s clothing chain, Gymboree has been offering children brightly colored mix-and-match outfits. With their whimsical prints and trendy designs, there are more than enough clothes to satisfy every child’s taste. The unique brand became a kid’s favorite and swelled with time to 1.281 stores.

However, while they continued to ride the market trends, the bubble burst for them in 2017. They followed the same fate as other stores and filed for bankruptcy. They then resurfaced on the market but announced a second bankruptcy in 2019. What followed was the closure of 800 branches.

Boston Market Will Shut 45 Restaurants

Ever since 1984, the fast-food chain, Boston Market has been winning us over with its delicious and affordable rotisserie chicken dishes. The restaurant was originally branded as Boston Chicken before rebranding in 1995 and is now a go-to place for all our favorite comfort food classics.

By 2018, the company had branched out to 450 locations in around 28 states and seemed to be dominating the market for hearty comfort food staples. However, while it has peaked in success, it soon felt the heat of declining sales. Boston Market announced a “multi-faceted transformation plan,” which included the closure of 45 beloved stores.

The Cheesecake Factory Will Close 10 Stores

The Cheesecake Factory is no ordinary bakery. After opening its doors in 1972 in LA, and debuting their oversized signature cheesecakes to the world, the chain is widely considered as a tourist attraction. The branded phenomenon is now an institution that you have to visit at least once in a lifetime.

Over the years, the company has expanded its menu and bloated in size to 211 restaurants, both across the US and internationally. While their calorific menu is just as sensational as ever before, they also felt the pinch of declining sales, legal troubles and changes in eating habits. As a result, they are saying farewell to 10 beloved stores.

Dress Barn Will Say Farewell to 650 Branches

For over 50 years, the Dress Barn clothing chain has provided a go-to spot for female shoppers throughout the country. With their extensive selection of affordable and fashionable work-to-wear dresses, stylish work outfits and accessories, the brand became a magnet for working women.

Through the years, Dress Barn has always been in style and its reputation has proceeded it. The store has evolved with the times and opened around 650 stores across the country. However, even Dress Barn couldn’t escape the retail downturn and has announced they will shut all 650 branches. Thankfully, they are still available as an online store.

JCPenney Will Lose 27 Department Stores

JCPenny is another flagship store on our list which now holds a nostalgic place in American retail history. The department store chain was originally launched in 1902 and has ridden the tide of consumer and retail trends over the years.

The popular and affordable department store has since branched into clothing, electronics, furniture, and more and has swelled to 859 stores across the US. While the beloved chain is still standing after all these years, it is still not immune from the retail pinch. Sadly, in 2019 the chain announced the closure of 27 stores.

Lowe’s To Say Goodbye to 34 Retail Stores

For almost 100 years, Lowe’s has been dominating the world of home improvement. The recognizable brand has become the second-largest hardware chain in the world and is now a permanent fixture in most retail parks and shopping malls.

After a long and colorful history, the hardware brand infiltrated almost every corner of the US, Canada, and Mexico, boasting around 2,000 stores. While people still need to improve their homes, sadly the retail market has changed and the chain has been forced to close 34 underperforming branches.

Macy’s Will Lose 30 Locations

Macy’s is another retail treasure that will forever fill us all with nostalgia. The prized American luxury department store brand has been around since 1858 and holds a special place for many seasoned shoppers. And of course, where would we be without the Macy’s Parade each Thanksgiving?

Throughout the years, Macy’s has become an institution and the company also has a sister brand, Bloomingdales. In 2014 it became the 15th largest retailer in the world and grew to around 630 stores. However, sadly the brand has also been affected by the retail apocalypse. In 2016 they announced 100 underperforming store closures and a further 30 in 2020.

Olympia Sports Will Shut 77 Retail Stores

If you’re from the East Coast, then you’ll be familiar with the Olympia Sports brand. The Maine based company opened its first flagship store in Boston in 1975 and has now branched out to open 152 stores throughout New England, New York, and the Mid-Atlantic.

With its affordably-priced athletic outfits and its huge selection of branded footwear, Olympia Sports became a hot spot for all our sporty needs. Nonetheless, the brand could not escape the same fate as our other prized retail outlets. In 2019 they announced the closure of 77 branches.

Walgreens Pharmacy Will Close 200 Branches

While being the height of convenience, Walgreens’ Pharmacy has always provided a warm and welcoming environment for all our medical needs. With its recognizable logo and its huge selection of health and wellness products, we could always rely on Walgreens for a healthy fix.

The retail brand was originally founded in 1901 and has now branched out to around 9,200 stores in 50 states, so we’ve gotten used to seeing them on almost every corner. However, even though we all want to still be healthy, even pharmacies are not immune to the retail chills. The brand announced that 200 stores are being closed down.

Papyrus Announced the Closure of 254 Stores

Founded in 1973, the American stationery and greeting card wholesaler, Papyrus has now become a staple in American retail culture. With their creative and upscale greeting cards for every occasion and selection of stationery essentials, they became a go-to store for all our occasional needs.

The company soon expanded with time and become a staple in malls across the country. However, the brand is also part of the Schurman Retail Group. So, when Schurman Retail Group filed for bankruptcy, this meant the Papyrus chain felt the aftershock and announced the closure of 254 stores.

Steak n’ Shake Will Lose 44 Restaurants

Since 1934, Steak n’ Shake has provided us with the ultimate in casual dining. With its masterful collection of seasoned steakburgers and delicious milkshakes, the brand has always been there to comfort us through rain or shine, whenever we needed a steak or shake fix.

The flagship branch was first opened in Indiana and soon spread across the Midwest. The chain soon grew to 413 restaurants and 214 franchises. However, due to the current climate, the company has run into difficulties and has been forced to close 44 branches. The brand insists these are temporary until they look for a franchise partner to take them over.

Burger King To Shut Down 250 Branches

The notorious hamburger fast-food chain, Burger King has been winning over scores of hungry consumers since 1953. Interestingly, the founders first sparked the idea of creating a charbroiled burger chain after visiting McDonald’s. They later became their long-standing fast-food market rival.

Over time, the Burger King logo has become a cultural institution and now has a massive global presence. In 2018, there were a staggering 17,796 branches worldwide. The company has diversified its menu and revamped its image to cater to healthier consumer habits. They seemed untouchable, but they too have announced the closure of 250 low-performing locations.