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US retailers announced nearly seven times as many store openings as closings in 1Q22

By Patrick McKeever

As concerns grow about record inflation, rising borrowing costs, the psychological impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and record oil prices In essence, U.S. consumers continue to be very resilient, supported by broad labor market strength, strong wage gains and the savings accumulated during the pandemic.

The resilience is well reflected in retail sales, which rose more than 8% year over year in total in April and more than 6% by removing sales from gas stations, car dealerships and restaurants.

While inflation (higher retail prices) contributed to year-over-year growth, the increase came on top of a surge in sales in spring 2021 as consumers received their stimulus checks as part of the US bailout.

It’s also worth noting that brick-and-mortar stores again did better in April than online retailers after outperforming in March for the first time since the pandemic began in spring 2020 according to Mastercard SpendingPulse. This shift is driven by consumers returning to more normal shopping habits.

Opening announcements remain concentrated in the discount/dollar and off-price sectors

In the first three months of 2022, major US-headquartered retailers announced plans to open approximately 4,400 stores, similar to the first three months of last year, and close approximately 635 stores, compared to around 2,100 closure announcements in the first calendar quarter of 2021. according to analytical work by The Daily on Retail, a finance-focused industry research platform.

As has been the case for some time now, opening ads have been concentrated in the discount/dollar and off-price sectors, which exhibit various qualities/elements that make them less vulnerable to online competition and less translatable for e-commerce in general than many others. retailers.

Five Below, which extended its prices above $5 with its Five Beyond initiative, recently announced plans to triple the number of stores to over 3,500 by the end of fiscal 2030 and said that would open 925 to 1,000 stores over the next four years. a base of more than 1,200 stores.

Family Dollar plans to open 400 new stores this year from a base of over 8,000 stores, while Dollar Tree plans to open 190 stores from a base of over 8,000 stores.

General dollar CEO is also growing aggressively, although we are not including management’s plan to open 1,110 new stores in 2022 in our tally since it was announced in December 2021.

In discount retail, industry leader TJX announced plans to open 150 new stores this year across its concepts from a base of nearly 4,700 total stores, Burlington plans to expand. open 90 net new stores from a base of approximately 840 stores, and Ross Stores recently said it will open 75 new Ross Dress for Less Stores and 25 dd’s DISCOUNTS this year from a base of more than 1,900 total stores.

On a combined basis and including a few others not mentioned above, discount/dollar and off-price retailers announced plans to open approximately 2,240 stores, or about half of all new stores announced for the period. from 2022 to date until March.

Auto parts retailers also continue to open many new stores

Auto parts retailers have also held up better against online competition than other retailers and also continue to focus more on the in-store experience and growing their in-store footprint.

O’Reilly Automotive ORLY said earlier this year that it will open 175 to 185 net new stores, implying growth of just over 3% on a base of more than 5,700 stores, and Advance Auto Parts has announced plans to open 125 to 150 new stores out of a base of approximately 5,000 total stores.

AutoZone is also expanding its store base, but has a fiscal year in August and has yet to announce any new store openings in 2022.

Digital natives are moving into physical retail

It’s important to note that many of the retailers opening stores are digital natives, including Warby Parker, which went public last fall and said in pre-IPO investor filings that it will expects to maintain strong revenue growth in fiscal 2022 largely by “expanding (its) business footprint.” Management recently announced plans to open 40 new stores this year from a base of around 160, implying 25% growth.

Other digital natives opening stores include Gap’s Athleta brand, which plans to open 30-40 new stores from a base of 227, Fabletics, which plans to open 30 new stores from a base of 70+ stores, and Allbirds, which plans 16 new stores. -17 new stores out of a base of 35 worldwide.

Closing announcements focus on footwear and apparel

Again, announcements of store closures have fallen significantly in the first three months of 2022 compared to the same period last year, but among retailers announcing closures, Foot Locker is the leader, with plans to closure of 190 of its more than 2,800 stores. Foot Locker also plans to open 100 new stores this year, so the expected net reduction is 90 stores.

Other retailers closing stores, including Amazon AMZNwhich closes all its physical bookstores and 4-star stores, Difference GPS and Banana Republic North America, which plans to close 50 to 60 of its more than 960 combined stores, and Genesco, which plans to close 46 of its 1,425 stores.

Next on the list are Chico’s, which has said it will close about 40 of its more than 1,200 stores, and Children’s Place, which also plans to close about 40 stores and has more than 670 stores in total.

Methodology

According to the Daily on Retail methodology, openings and closings are specific numbers that have been announced, not completed, and could span several years. Additionally, the Daily on Retail tally excludes openings and closings that could take place in 2022 but were announced in 2021 or earlier.

Patrick McKeever covered retail for over 20 years as an award-winning Wall Street analyst before launching The Daily on Retail in 2019.