These retailers announced hundreds of store closures in September

Author: Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business
Published: Updated:
Customers stand in line to enter a Century 21 department store in New York, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. Century 21 Stores, an iconic New York off-price department store chain, filed for bankruptcy with plans to shut down, becoming the latest victim of the retail industry carnage that’s accelerated during the pandemic. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A summer of bankruptcies and store closures is seeping into the fall.

Earlier this month, the legendary New York bargain retailer Century 21 filed for bankruptcy, and several mall staples announced hundreds of store closures. Some retailers are now closing more stores than originally planned, underscoring how badly businesses have have struggled during the pandemic.

Here are some of the highest-profile retailers that announced store closures in September:

American Eagle Outfitters

The clothing retailer is closing between 40 and 50 locations this year, it announced during an earnings call. It also said it was eyeing up to 500 locations over the next two years that could be possibly closed.

American Eagle Outfitters’ digital sales have exploded during the pandemic, so the company is looking to reduce its physical footprint — especially in malls. “Our flexible lease portfolio will allow us to quickly exit locations that no longer makes sense,” Chief Financial Officer Mike Mathias said in the call.

Bed Bath & Beyond

The homewares chain is closing 63 stores by the end of the year as part of a restructuring plan sparked by the pandemic.

The changes come after the retailer announced in July that it would close roughly 200 locations, mainly Bed Bath & Beyond stores, over the next two years. It also said last month it would eliminate 2,800 jobs as it tries to streamline operations and shore up finances.

The company, which also operates BuyBuy Baby, Christmas Tree Shops and Harmon Face Values, has about 1,500 stores. Nearly 1,000 of those are Bed Bath & Beyond locations.

Century 21

The discount department chain filed for bankruptcy on September 10 and announced it was closing all of its 13 stores. It has around 1,400 employees.

Century 21 blamed for its demise the lack of payout on its business interruption insurance. It’s also part of a broader shakeup in in the industry, which struggled before the pandemic.

Stores that depended on clothing sales, such as Century 21, have been hit particularly hard as millions of people are out of work and millions more are working from home and not needing to buy as many dress clothes.


GameStop is closing about 100 more stores than it originally planned, totaling about 400 to 450 stores globally. That’s more than the 320 locations it announced in March.

Chief Financial Officer Jim Bell said the closures “will allow us to more efficiently and profitably service our customers.” He added “there are more [closures] to do” in 2021 “as well.” The chain was stung by falling sales of physical video games, one of its mainstays.

GameStop currently has 5,122 stores worldwide — 600 fewer than it did it last year.

Sur La Table

The upscale kitchenwares chain filed for bankruptcy in July and announced it was closing about half of its 120 locations. It said this month it was closing an additional 17 locations, according to a press release.

Sur La Table is updating its website with the store closures. The retailer is completely leaving several states including New Jersey, Georgia and Massachusetts.

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