Many retailers that found themselves struggling in a pre-coronavirus world dominated by increased e-commerce adoption rates have begun to restructure their business models or close their doors for good. Current research shows that between 20,000 and 25,000 storefronts are expected to shutter forever by the end of 2020. This is a dramatic increase compared to the 9,300 store closures reported in 2019. At least 15 major retailers have filed for some form of bankruptcy protection.
What retailers are closing their doors and filing for bankruptcy? Are any retailers expanding their footprints amidst the nationwide pandemic? Let’s take a look.
Store Closures and Bankruptcies
As of early June, at least 4,000 storefronts are in the processing of closing. More than half of those can be accounted for by six major retailers, including: Pier 1, Tuesday Morning, GNC and JCPenney. Other retailers that have either filed for bankruptcy or announced store closures include: Papyrus, CMX Cinemas, Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, J.Crew, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Payless, Dress Barn and Gymboree.
Pier 1 filed for bankruptcy in early February. Three months later, the company is ceasing all its retail operations and expects to close all of its remaining stores by October 2020. The company is currently working to liquidate the remainder of its assets. Discount home goods retailer Tuesday Morning joined Pier 1 in filing for bankruptcy in late May. The Dallas-based chain will permanently close at least 230 of its nearly 700 stores in the United States this summer. During the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, the retailer hopes to renegotiate many of its leases so it can focus on improving product offerings in its remaining high-performing stores.
The health and nutrition chain GNC will close at least 900 of its retail locations by the end of 2020. CEO Ken Martindale pointed to decreasing mall traffic as one of the many reasons the company has decided to significantly reduce its footprint. GNC plans to reduce its mall count by nearly half. (Currently, mall locations make up about 23 percent of GNC’s retail footprint.) Another former mall staple—the 118-year-old company JCPenney—filed for bankruptcy in early May. The coronavirus pandemic had a dramatic effect on the department store chain, resulting in major decreases in store sales. The company hopes to continue doing business even while closing a at least 154 of its remaining 846 stores.
Some Good News
Although few retailers are focusing on expansion plans during the midst of this nationwide pandemic, some notable brands—most in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) sector—are hiring more workers. Fast-food chain Dunkin’ announced its plan to hire at least 25,000 new employees nationwide. Taco Bell made a similar announcement in late May as it unveiled its plan to hire 30,000 workers this summer.
Because of the relative strength of QSR assets, they are at the top of investors’ lists as many in 1031 exchanges prepare for the July 15 IRS tax deadline. Single-tenant, net leased assets are still trading even as investments in department stores, strip centers and other non-essential retailers have been put on hold. Retail assets valued between $1 million and $5 million that feature essential tenants like Dollar General, McDonald’s, 7-Eleven and Wawa are doing well, although they are being sold at higher cap rates.
Navigating These Uncertain Times
Ground + Space is a leading commercial real estate firm that specializes in single-tenant and retail NNN investments. We have several listings available featuring retailers that are in a prime position to succeed in a post-pandemic economy. We are committed to providing up-to-date information and best-in-class services to clients during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The market changes daily, so please contact one of our brokers for specialized guidance during this time.
Stay Healthy and Safe
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers daily updates and other information about COVID-19 symptoms and testing in the United States. Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has created a resource to help inform the public and advance comprehensive understanding of the novel coronavirus and its effects backed by experts in global public health, infectious disease and emergency preparedness. Additionally, the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to track the number and location of confirmed cases of the virus across the globe.