Published on: May 20, 2020

Retailer Pier 1 Imports announced it would close all remaining 540 stores and try to find a buyer for its online business. It follows bankruptcy announcements from JC Penney, J. Crew, and Neiman Marcus.

“Retail has been undergoing technological updates, shifting consumer behavior and low foot traffic over the last three years that has led to mass closures of brick-and-mortar establishments and job cuts,” said Andrew Challenger, SVP of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

“The current COVID crisis is exacerbating Retail woes. Companies that did not have a robust online offering are being hit particularly hard,” he added.

In fact, according to an analysis from Business Insider, 9,300 stores closed in 2019, breaking the record of 8,000 store closures in 2018. According to Coresight Research, another 15,000 stores could close in 2020.

Meanwhile, Retailers have announced 114,327 job cuts through April in 2020, not only the highest January-April total, but also the highest annual total on record. It shatters the previous high of 100,518 cuts announced by Retailers in all of 2003.

“While the Entertainment/Leisure sector leads all job cut announcements this year, Retailers come in second and have led job cut announcements in all industries since 2017,” said Challenger.

Retailers have already announced 47% more job cuts than in all of 2019 when 77,475 were announced. In 2018, Retailers announced 98,563 job cuts, then the highest annual total since 2009 when 98,807 Retail job cuts were announced.

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Contact Colleen Madden Blumenfeld for more data or to set up an interview with SVP Andy Challenger.

Contact Challenger for Media Inquiries




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