It seems like we hear reports of a retailer’s demise every day. Even perceived mainstay Toys R Us is down for the count. Many stores are in danger, and even restaurants aren’t immune to the stress of the unforgiving market. Many fashion retailers are making last-ditch efforts to lure customers back. But the fashion industry is nothing if not cutthroat, and only the strong will survive. These 20 fashion retailers are desperately trying to attract customers but failing miserably.
Although Nike’s international sales are doing fine (China sales rose 9%), the company’s shares ranked as the worst performing Dow stock of 2016. Since North America makes up 40% of Nike’s sales, this is not good. Adidas is on the up-and-up as it surpassed Nike’s Jumpman 23 Michael Jordan line to become the second-bestselling sneaker brand this fall. Nike face a couple major hurdles: a struggling apparel industry, crowded athleisure market, and changing sneaker trends.
Next: The retail market is saturated with outdoor apparel.
2. Eddie Bauer
The outdoor clothing retailer known for heavy-duty flannels and durable jackets is attempting to crawl out of debt. A previous attempt to find a buyer in 2014 flopped, so Eddie Bauer hired an adviser to slash debt and try again. According to USA Today, Moody’s analyst Dan Altieri blamed the retailer’s decision to stay competitive by slashing prices as the primary reason for dismal sales and profit margins.
Next: No strategy change has saved this store.
JCPenney is going, going, and will likely be gone soon. By summer’s end they’ve closed 14% of its locations (138 stores), ending in major liquidation sales that drew back some customers. Although the retailer has shed its excess weight, things haven’t improved. JCPenney still has a net loss of $242 million. The Christmas season may be the make-or-break moment for the classic fashion retailer.
Next: J. Crew’s rebranding mistake
4. J. Crew
J. Crew took a risk that didn’t pay off. An unfortunate rebrand from trendy and affordable to high-end and uninspired left customers confused and uninterested. Add a multitude of C-Suite shakeups, including losing the head designer and seasoned CEO, and it’s clear why J. Crew is struggling to stay afloat. The company has about $2.1 billion in debt, with no foreseeable relief in sight.
Next: This retail giant used to be on top of the world.
Online retailers like Amazon are killing business for many retailers, including this struggling company. According to Forbes, Kmart has closed more than 200 stores in 2017, with plans to close an additional 150 before the year’s end. The company, which reported a second-quarter loss of $251 million in sales, had nearly 3,400 stores in 2007. Now it’s focusing on opening smaller stores with specialties in addition to its 1,400 leftover retail locations.
Next: An update on Macy’s woes
It’s no secret that the big department stores are hit hardest during the retail apocalypse. Macy’s is closing stores and laying off employees as a result of ongoing profit misfortunes. The Wall Street Journal even reported Macy’s fielded an offer from Hudson’s Bay about a takeover.
But Macy’s won’t go down without a fight. It’s plowing forward, luring wayward customers back into stores with a new loyalty program allowing shoppers to accumulate points and other discounts depending on how much they spend.
Next: This high-end retailer is struggling with customer loyalty.
7. Neiman Marcus
High-end retailer Neiman Marcus failed its first attempt to sell the company in 2017, and it faces massive debt as a result. Its CEO blames the decline in sales on shoppers becoming “far less loyal,” thanks to internet shopping and price comparisons. To be fair, it’s not the only retailer struggling to keep customers, but closing 10 Last Call stores won’t help attract new buyers moving forward.
Next: Gnarly issues for a surf company
Foot traffic was once an issue for California-based surfwear company Quiksilver, but a turnaround with a new owner and a new name — Boardrider — could help stabilize the business. Boardrider also owns Roxy and DC Shoes. It plans to rebrand these struggling stores to millennials via the hotel and hospitality business.
“It’s a way to showcase our brand and increase the experience we offer our consumers,” Quiksilver President Greg Healy told The Orange County Register. “It’s not only apparel, it also has a food and beverage element and a music element. We want to use it to turn around the business in North America.”
Next: Paying less hasn’t paid off.
After filing for bankruptcy earlier this year, the budget-friendly shoe-store chain closed 673 stores. Now Payless is searching for a new leader who will help them get creative concerning a strategy for competing with online shoe companies. The Kansas-based retailer faces an uncertain future to say the least.
Next: A brand struggling to do more than just define itself
Shoppers everywhere have turned their backs on Gap, as the company hasn’t posted winning sales numbers in years. Many say the company that owns Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta is struggling to define what Gap stands for.
But the retailer’s leaders swear they are far from dead and that their best days are ahead. This is due in large part to Old Navy’s recent success. But when a company considers successful quarters to be those in which sales numbers remain flat rather than negative, the trouble is still there.
Next: Crocs faces declining stock.
More shoes, more problems for this shoe retailer famous for its plastic clogs. Crocs announced that it will close roughly 160 stores by the end of 2018. The company will cut operational costs and narrow down its product scope as it restructures. Forbes notes that Crocs is fighting a losing battle against athletic trends.
Next: It’s been a tough decade for this retailer.
12. Pacific Sunwear
Once a staple in every young person’s California-inspired wardrobe, surfwear retailer PacSun is poised to fade away with the tide after filing for bankruptcy protection in late 2016. Some blame its poor performance in recent years on offering styles similar to those from competitors. Store closings are expected, as the chain hasn’t posted profitable sales figures since 2008, according to The Fashion Law.
Next: A popular denim store is not so popular anymore.
13. True Religion
Denim retailer True Religion is another apparel brand filing for bankruptcy, closing 27 stores amid customer loyalty decline. But don’t swap your True Religion jeans for Wrangler just yet. The courts recently approved a $60 million post-bankruptcy loan from Citizens Bank to give the retailer’s finances a boost if and when it emerges from the ashes. Will the loan be a swift kick in the pants True Religion needs to regain its followers? Time will tell.
Next: The next step for A&F
14. Abercrombie & Fitch
Teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has struggled to attract customers since 2013. It recently shuttered 20% of its stores and announced plans to close more. Abercrombie is trying to win back customers through a big rebranding effort. Shoppers will notice a huge flip, as the stores go from nightclub-esque to everyday retailer, according to Business Insider.
Next: Charitable company in trouble
15. Toms Shoes
Toms relies on its philanthropic campaigns to drive its marketing efforts. For every shoe purchased, another is donated to a child in need — though some speculate how successful those efforts really are. The fact that Moody’s downgraded Toms’ outlook is proof that even socially driven business strategies can’t withstand today’s harsh retail environment.
Next: This retailer’s stores are on the chopping block.
Guess is planning several store closures in the coming year. Clark reports the U.S. store closures will put nearly $16 million back in the piggy bank. The company’s CEO hopes these profits will enable the company to focus on its G by Guess and Guess Factory retail concepts that perform well. But it’s unclear whether customers will still be around by the time the retailer figures it out.
Next: An apparel company losing to competitors
To be specific, pretty much all stores owned by Ascena Retail Group are struggling. The company owns Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant, and Dress Barn — all have seen better days. Of course, competitor success only makes things worse for the fashion retailers as they continue to lose customer loyalty to stores such as T.J.Maxx and Marshalls. The group is scrounging for rent reductions and looking to close stores nationwide after profits shrunk.
Next: A previous red-carpet retailer destined for failure
Even BCBG, the fashion mainstay that once adorned celebrities such as Kate Winslet, Victoria Beckham, and Alicia Keys, is grasping at straws to remain relevant in today’s fashion world. The company now faces layoffs and store closings. A BCBG spokesman told Bloomberg the retailer would make a sizable shift in selling strategies and focus on e-commerce and branding partnerships to “realign its business to effectively compete in today’s shopping environment.”
Next: Potential issues for a popular jewelry chain
19. Charming Charlie
The budget-friendly jewelry chain is soaring over other pricier competitors now that shoppers are becoming more budget-conscious, but that’s precisely Charming Charlie’s problem. Such rapid expansion following its breakout success has prompted the chain to seek credit help to avoid the growing retail sinkhole. At one point, founder Charlie Chanaratsopon was placed on Forbes’ Americas Richest Entrepreneurs Under 40 list with a net worth of $425 million. But what goes up must come down, and it seems Charming Charlie is preparing for a big drop sometime soon.
Next: Brides don’t want to shop at malls either.
20. Alfred Angelo
Not one to shy away from bridezillas, all proverbial hell broke loose when Florida-based bridal shop Alfred Angelo unexpectedly shut its doors without making good on its promise to deliver wedding gowns to paying brides. Many were left without their deposits and dresses when the retailer closed up shop and filed for bankruptcy.
But competitor David’s Bridal emerged as the hero, offering a discount to Alfred Angelo brides. However, it’s unclear whether the retailer can make good on its promise as David’s Bridal is also experiencing profit woes, according to Moody’s.
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Additional reporting by Ali Harrison.