A tidal wave of store closures is about to hit the US, experts say, and the result could be catastrophic for hundreds of lower-tier shopping malls.
JCPenney announced Friday that it would close up to 140 stores in the next couple of months.
That follows decisions by Macy’s and Sears to close a collective 218 stores in the first half of the year. Other mall-based stores including American Apparel, The Limited, Bebe, BCBG, and Payless have also recently announced that they are shutting down all or most of their stores.
The rate of closures is higher than in previous years, signaling a new reality for the retail industry that consists of far fewer stores and, ultimately, fewer shopping malls.
“The signal sent by this [JCPenney] announcement: retailers are going to continue aggressively culling stores to appease Wall Street,” said Ryan McCullough, a senior economist for the commercial real-estate…