In the debate about the long-term viability of brick-and-mortar retail, it appears that those who wrote off physical stores based on 2020’s pandemic-driven wave of bankruptcies and store closings may have spoken too soon. Citing data from Coresight Research, CNBC reported that planned store openings outnumber planned closings this year: U.S. retailers have announced 3,199 store openings and 2,548 closures year to date. While the tally of openings is slightly smaller than 2020’s, the number of closings is more than 70% lower than last year’s total of 8,953.
CNBC profiled 10 retailers with bullish expansion plans this year. They run the gamut of categories as well as price points. What more than a few have in common is an eye for opportunity in terms of backfilling locations left vacant by last year’s wave of closures. American Eagle, for one, plans to add roughly 60 locations of its Aerie brand this year. “We’re very excited about the malls,” American Eagle Chief Executive Jay Schottenstein said during an earnings conference call in early March. “This is probably the best opportunity for us to pick up new locations that we’re being offered … at affordable rents for us.”
Other expansion-minded retailers profiled by CNBC included Ulta Beauty, Sephora, Burlington Stores, Fabletics, Dick’s Sporting Goods, TJX, Five Below, Gap’s Old Navy and Athleta brands — and, yes, Amazon. Not surprisingly, Amazon Fresh is not the only grocery concept that plans to add locations this year: CNBC reported that Aldi, Lidl, Sprouts Farmers Market and Trader Joe’s have all announced store openings this year.