Temporary Retail Store Closings; What Will Be the Long-Term Impact?


It has been understandable yet unsettling to see the number of bricks and mortar temporary retail closings. These retailers are shuttering for the next few weeks to protect their employees and consumers from the Coronavirus. We thank them for their social consciousness at such a challenging time.

Never the less, it is a risky move at a time when a number of bricks and mortar retail chains have closed, and some are currently struggling to survive. By closing doors to the public, retailers are risking that their consumers will acquire new shopping habits. Those who love to shop, and have, until now, avoided digital commerce, may find that it’s not so bad. In fact, they may find that they like it. As a result, they may shift their shopping pattern away from physical retail and toward e-commerce.

I find it interesting that many of the chains that have chosen to close temporarily are those with middle and upper-middle-class consumers. Retailers whose consumers are lower-income (think Dollar General and Family Dollar) are not, at least at this time, among those closing their stores. As a result, those whose consumer base is lower income may be less affected by what comes next than those who deal with the more monied classes.

Here is a partial list of 20 major retail chains that are closing:

  1. American Eagle Outfitters
  2. Apple
  3. Bath & Body Works
  4. FAO Schwarz
  5. Foot Locker
  6. H&M
  7. J. Crew
  8. Lulemon
  9. Macy’s
  10. Nike

  • Nordstrom
  • Patagonia
  • Ralph Lauren
  • REI
  • The North Face
  • Timberland
  • Ulta Beauty
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Williams Sonoma

Here is a list of chains cutting hours:

  • Gap
  • J.C. Penney
  • Kohls

Expect to see some deep discounting and heavy promotion when stores reopen. Otherwise, bricks and mortar retail will find its struggles even more daunting.

One thought

  1. Good point. So sad. Hoping specialty and locally-owned stores may have some immunity due tot heir loyal customer base who enjoy visiting the stores as a family past-time and know the owners and staff.

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