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  • Writer's pictureVolume 82 Magazine

Retail Chains Continue to Close: Rue 21 Closing All Stores. Express to Close Over 90 Locations.

Rue 21 announced that it filed for bankruptcy and will close all of its stores, which is over 500 brick and mortar locations. According to The Kansas City Star, "The Pittsburgh-based company, founded in 1970 as Pennsylvania Fashions, had about 1,000 stores, mostly in U.S. malls, at its peak. It is now majority-owned by Blue Torch Capital, a private equity firm. In a court filing, interim CEO Michele Pascoe said the bankruptcy was the result of "under-performing retail locations, increased industry competition and the uptick in online shopping, inflation and macroeconomic headwinds, and challenges raising capital."

This is not the first time the retailer based in Warrendale, Pennsylvania, has filed for bankruptcy, previously filing in 2003 and 2017, when it closed 400 stores and cut about $700 million in debt. Reuters reported that rue21 currently has approximately 4,900 employees and $194.4 million in debt, according to USAT

According to The Des Moines Register, Best Buy will close 10-15 stores this year. It closed 24 stores during its last fiscal year. The retailer's CEO, Corie Bary, said declining sales are the cause of store closures. Corie said the company plans "to strike a balance between its workforce and consumer interest."

Foot Locker is another long-standing company that plans to close several locations. According to CNN, "Foot Locker is planning to shut 400 stores by 2026 as it strives to become more relevant to younger shoppers by relaunching its retail brands, introducing "experiential" new store concepts, and simplifying its operations by closing underperforming mall-based stores."

Victoria's Secret, one of the most popular lingerie companies, closed 241 stores in 2020. Online shopping has contributed to more prominent brands, such as Victoria's Secret deciding to close multiple store fronts.

E-Commerce/online shopping has changed consumers' shopping experience. E-commerce has transformed the retail landscape by bringing the shopping experience to the consumers' fingertips via desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. E-commerce has completely changed the way consumers shop, as they only need to make a few clicks to make a purchase. Yaguara reports, "There are 274.70 million online buyers in the United States as of 2023. More than 81% of the total population in the United States is shopping online. 93% of millennials always plan to purchase products from Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales."

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