The future of American malls is in limbo. Since 2016, more than 1,500 stores have been slated to close, including blue chip names like JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, American Apparel, The Limited, and Abercrombie & Fitch. The trend is nothing new, as customer traffic had started to slow more than a decade ago, causing many large department stores to abandon their leases. As the malls lost their largest revenue generators, they began to fail.
Some department stores are going out of business altogether like The Limited, recently shut down all 250 of its stores. Other stores, like Sears and JCPenney, are aggressively reducing their store counts to unload unprofitable locations. Sears is shutting down about 10% of its Sears and Kmart locations (around 150 stores) and JCPenney is shutting down about 14% of its locations, totaling 138 stores.