Big-Name Stores That Have Closed in the Last 30 Years

Front Exterior of an Empty, Abandoned Store in a Strip Mall with Windows Boarded Up, 'Space Available' Sign on Top, and Street in the Foreground


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Front Exterior of an Empty, Abandoned Store in a Strip Mall with Windows Boarded Up, 'Space Available' Sign on Top, and Street in the Foreground

The Retail Apocalypse

Whether from changing consumer habits, the pandemic, or financial mismanagement, many well-known retailers have been forced to shut their doors in recent years. And the list is likely to grow. Analysts say Bed Bath & Beyond, Rite Aid, Party City, and Tuesday Morning are among retailers facing an elevated risk of bankruptcy as a global recession looms and may join the ranks of stores that are no more. From Lord & Taylor to Borders, you may not realize how many stores went out of business.

Christine Clark and Jeff Rindskopf contributed to this report.

Related: Devastating Photos of Dying Sears and Kmart Stores

Woman Walking Through the Front Doors of the Lord & Taylor Flagship Department Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, 2011
DW labs Incorporated/shutterstock

Lord & Taylor

It was the beginning of the end for Lord & Taylor when the nation's oldest department store sold its historic New York City flagship store for $850 million in 2017. But it wasn’t until August 2020 that the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and decided to pull the plug on all its stores, a reversal from a decision to keep at least some locations open. Liquidation sales at all 38 stores officially ended the chain's storied 194-year run.

Related: Iconic Department Stores We Miss

Entrance of Kaufmann's Department Store, Fort Steuben Mall, Steubenville, Ohio Inside Mall, Fountains and Geometric Lighting in Foreground, 1974
Entrance of Kaufmann's Department Store, Fort Steuben Mall, Steubenville, Ohio Inside Mall, Fountains and Geometric Lighting in Foreground, 1974 by Phillip Pessar (CC BY)
Front Exterior of a Pier 1 Imports, Miami, Florida, in a Strip Mall with Cars Parked in Front
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Pier 1 Imports

Pier 1 declared bankruptcy in 2020, right before the pandemic had fully taken hold, and the company hoped to find a buyer to breathe life into the struggling chain of home-goods stores. But Pier 1 said a few months later that it would close all stores and liquidate instead, partially blaming the "uncertainty of a post-COVID world." It now exists as an online-only retailer.

Front Exterior of Fry's Electronics Retail Store, Irving, Texas, Cars Parked in the Parking Lot in the Foreground


This iconic electronics retailer went out not with a bang but a whimper, closing all of its remaining locations overnight in February 2021 after four decades in business. The chain, known for its crazy-themed stores, had long fought a losing battle against behemoths like Amazon and Best Buy, but it also cited the pandemic as a reason for the sudden shutdown.

Front Exterior of Century 21 Department Store on Broadway, New York City, with Numerous People Walking on the Street in Front

Century 21

The loss of this famous discounter was a blow to many thrifty New Yorkers, especially since it managed to pull through even after its Lower Manhattan flagship was damaged on 9/11. The coronavirus proved a more formidable foe, leaving shoppers to wistfully remember the designer duds they scored here for a song. There may yet be a comeback in the cards: The chain opened in South Korea and hopes to reopen in the United States.

Interior of Sam Goody Store, Cookeville, Tennessee, Focus on DVD Aisle of Sci-Fi/Horror DVDs for Sale on the Left with Another Aisle of DVDs Along the Wall on the Right, 2017
Interior of Sam Goody Store, Cookeville, Tennessee, Focus on DVD Aisle of Sci-Fi/Horror DVDs for Sale on the Left with Another Aisle of DVDs Along the Wall on the Right, 2017 by Mike Kalasnik (CC BY-SA)

Sam Goody

Before the days of Spotify and Apple Music, Deadheads, Beatlemaniacs, and other fans headed to stores like Sam Goody to get their rock 'n' roll fix. But like most record stores that have closed in the last 20 years, the Minneapolis-based retailer couldn't survive the turn to digital music in the 2000s. Still, Sam Goody hung on for as long as possible with acquisitions from Best Buy and Sun Capital Partners, which kept it going until 2012, when most of its stores closed or were converted to brands like FYE.

'Right Fit Jean' Display Inside Catherines Plus Sizes, Modesto, California, Showcasing Jeans and Colorful Tunic Tops
Jon S./Yelp


One of the nation's best-known plus-size retailers, Catherine's was dealt a major blow when parent company Ascena filed for bankruptcy in 2020. Ascena closed all Catherine's stores as part of its reorganization, choosing to focus on Lane Bryant, Loft, and Ann Taylor instead. FullBeauty, a company that owns several other plus-size brands, purchased Catherine's and is now operating the store online.

Front Exterior of Stein Mart Retail Store, Rochester Hills, Michigan, a Line of Cars Parked in the Parking Lot, in a Strip Mall

Stein Mart

Discounter Stein Mart was in the process of being sold to a private equity firm when the pandemic hit, disrupting what was supposed to be a turnaround plan. The chain sought government aid to stay afloat for some of 2020 but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing "significant financial distress" caused by both COVID-19 and customers' changing buying habits. All of its 300 stores have closed.

Front Exterior of New York & Company Retail Store, Charlotte, North Carolina in Northlake Mall, 2013
Melanie E./Yelp

New York & Co.

RTW Retailwinds, the parent company of women's fashion retailer New York & Co., filed for bankruptcy in 2020 after losing millions and defaulting on payments to landlords and vendors in the wake of COVID-19 closings. The company has shut down all of its nearly 380 stores, and sold its e-commerce business to Sunrise Brands.

Front Exterior of a Peebles Retail Store, Empty Feeling in Image with a Drive-Through Road and One Handicapped Parking Spot in the Foreground
Dorann Weber/Contributor/Getty Images

Stage Stores

Rural America needs to shop, too, and it could do that at Stage Stores, which favored small-town locations over larger metros that already had plenty of retail outlets. Part department store, part discounter, Stage ran a host of chains, including Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles, and Gordmans. All liquidated and shut down in summer 2020, after the pandemic dealt an insurmountable blow to business.

Front Exterior of a Modell's Sporting Goods Store, Manhattan, People Walking Along the Sidewalk and One Yellow Cab to the Right

Modell's Sporting Goods

After more than 130 years in business, Modell's Sporting Goods filed for Chapter 11 early last year after attempts to sell the chain were unsuccessful. Modell's had been suffering on several fronts, including a decline in youth sports, stiffer competition from big-box stores, and the rise of ecommerce. The pandemic forced the chain to pause going-out-of-business sales at its more than 150 stores, but they eventually resumed in the summer of 2020.

Front Exterior of Art Van Furniture Store, Chicago with Three Handicapped Parking Spaces
Vaughn J./Yelp

Art Van Furniture

This prominent Midwestern furniture and mattress chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early March of 2020, just before pandemic lockdowns began. Hurt by online competitors including Wayfair, plus other factors like furniture tariffs, rapid expansion, and executive turnover, the company decided to liquidate and close all of its nearly 170 stores.

Front Exterior of Papyrus Store, Atlanta with 'Store Closing' Sign in the Left Window
Dema Y./Yelp


Though this stationery chain still has a modest online presence, all of its more than 250 physical locations closed in early 2020 after parent company Schurman Retail Group filed for bankruptcy. The mainly mall-based retailer had expanded dramatically in the previous decade, a move that at odds with falling foot traffic in its stores.

Front Exterior of A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts Store, Hilliard, Ohio with 'Closing' Sign on Front Windows, Many Other Closing Signs in the Windows and Doors
Gena W./Yelp

A.C. Moore

The craft store world got a little smaller in November 2019, when A.C. Moore's parent company announced it would close the chain's 145 stores, mainly found on the East Coast. Major competitor Michaels took over and rebranded about 40 of the locations.

Front Exterior of Dean & DeLuca Soho Flagship Store, New York City, Several People Inside, a Row of People Eating Next to the Window, 2011

Dean & DeLuca

Long a shell of its former self, gourmet grocer Dean & DeLuca filed for bankruptcy in March 2020. The grocer, bought by a Thai company in 2014, closed its last remaining store in October 2019 and reported that it had one remaining employee and more than a half-million dollars in liabilities.

Front Exterior of Fred's Discount Store, Memphis, Very Clean with Outdoor Items for Sale Outside
Matt O./Yelp


This discounter and pharmacy with a wide presence throughout the Southeast filed for bankruptcy in September 2019 and announced it was liquidating all of its stores. Fred's had already endured several rounds of closures and had fewer than 100 stores still open, down from more than 550, when it decided to pull the plug entirely.

Exterior of Barneys in the Pacific Place Shopping Center, Seattle, at a Corner of Two Roads


For the better part of a century, Barneys was an icon of New York City retail and the destination of well-heeled tourists from around the world. Rapidly rising rents and dwindling sales, however, became too much for the luxury retailer to bear. In the summer of 2019, Barneys — which by then included stores in San Francisco and Beverly Hills, California, Seattle, Chicago, Las Vegas, and beyond — declared bankruptcy. Its name is now licensed to rival Saks Fifth Avenue.

Brightly Lit Brookstone Store at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport with One Person Looking at Headphones


Brookstone just couldn't find enough buyers for its heated neck massagers and other novelty items and decided to close all of its mall-based stores after filing for bankruptcy in 2018. The chain's airport stores and website are still kicking, and the company partnered with Macy's to sell some of its products.

Front Exterior of Dressbarn, Loveland, Colorado, Two Cars in the Parking Lot Is in the Foreground


In an effort to bolster its more successful brands like Ann Taylor, Loft, and Lane Bryant, Ascena Retail Group said in May 2019 that it would be closing all Dressbarn locations by the end of the year. Under new ownership, the brand now exists as an online-only retailer.

Yellow Front Exterior of LifeWay Christian Store, Riverside, California with 'Store Closing' Sign Over Front Doors
Jazmin R./Yelp

LifeWay Christian

Faith-based bookseller LifeWay Christian said in March 2019 that it would close all of its 170 stores, citing declining foot traffic and sales. The company continues to sell its products online.

Side Exterior of Shopko, La Crosse, Wisconsin Along Rose Street with a 'Store Closing' Sign
Front Doors and Windows of Payless ShoeSource, Sunnyvale, California with Several 'Store Closing' and Sale Signs
Andrei Stanescu/istockphoto

Payless ShoeSource

Finding cheap footwear became a little more difficult in 2019. In February, Payless filed for bankruptcy and said it would close all of its 2,500 U.S. locations. The move came after an initial bankruptcy filing in 2017, which was accompanied by about 700 closures. The company maintains an online business and stores in other countries.

People Briskly Walk By Front Exterior of Gymboree Store, Manhattan, New York City with a Rack of Children's Clothes on the Sidewalk
Spencer Platt/Staff/Getty Images

Gymboree and Crazy 8

Longtime kids' clothing seller Gymboree filed for bankruptcy in January 2019 and said it would close all 800-plus remaining locations of both Gymboree and its lower-priced Crazy 8 stores. The move followed a 2017 bankruptcy filing that was accompanied by 375 store closures. But the brand has reappeared in select Children's Place stores and online.

Front Exterior of Henri Bendel Store, Manhattan, New York City, Next to a Harry Winston Store, People Walking Along the Sidewalk and One Yellow Taxi Cab

Henri Bendel

Henri Bendel's lineup of handbags, jewelry, and other high-end accessories sure made for fun browsing, and the decked-out store also sold plenty of ornaments and whimsical snow globes every holiday season. Still, even a Fifth Avenue flagship couldn't save this retailer, which was forced to end its 123-year run in 2018 when parent company L Brands decided to focus on its other chains, including Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works. 

Side Exterior of Bon-Ton Store, Hamden, Connecticut, Red Bricks with Terracotta Brick Accents, Large Sidewalk with Green Plants
Side Exterior of Bon-Ton Store, Hamden, Connecticut, Red Bricks with Terracotta Brick Accents, Large Sidewalk with Green Plants by Mike Mozart (CC BY)


Department stores have struggled mightily over the past several years, so it wasn't a surprise when Bon-Ton Stores decided to pull the plug and liquidate in 2018. The chain's stores spanned 23 states and included familiar names like Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, and Younkers.

Large Teavana Plastic Filled with Tea, Held By a Woman Drinking It Through a Green Straw, Side-View


Starbucks said in 2017 that it planned to close all 379 of its underperforming Teavana stores, but mall operator Simon Property Group sued to keep 77 mall-based stores open. In 2018, Starbucks and Simon eventually reached a settlement allowing the remaining stores to close. If you miss Teavana, you can still find it online and in some big-box stores.

Side-View of Front Exterior of Toys 'R' Us, Muncie, Indiana, Slight Diagonal, with a Large 'Going Out of Business' Yellow Sign on It

Toys R Us

Once a children's dreamland, Toys R Us had more than 800 stores in the United States. But, after falling prey to mounting debt and stiff competition from the likes of Amazon, it went through bankruptcy and liquidation. By 2018, all U.S. locations had closed. It's attempting a comeback via a partnership with Macy's and recently opened a store in New Jersey.

Front Exterior of American Apparel Store, Downtown Charleston, South Carolina with a 'Made in USA' Sign on the Sidewalk

American Apparel

In the late 2000s, American Apparel was flying high with 281 locations, but by 2017, that number had dwindled to just 110. Even that, however, proved too many to maintain. The company said that year that it was closing all remaining locations and declaring bankruptcy for the second time. Whatever was left was gobbled up by Canadian retailer Gildan Activewear. Though the shops are gone, an online store remains.

Front Exterior and Side of hhgregg Store, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, Very Clean Building and Sidewalk

H.H. Gregg

This ubiquitous electronics retailer said it was filing bankruptcy and closing 88 of its 220 stores in March 2017. One month later, after failing to find a buyer, the company moved to close all remaining stores by the end of May. It was revived as an online-only business later that year.

Front Exterior of bebe Store on 34th Street in Manhattan, New York City, Black and White Modern Design with High Glass Windows
DW labs Incorporated/shutterstock


Bebe operated 372 retail stores at its peak. But in 2017 the seller of women's clothing shut all 180 locations across the country, rather than file for bankruptcy, and now exists as an online-only retailer.

Front Sign on Exterior of Family Christian Stores, Valencia, California, Red Shingled Roof and Top of Front Windows on a Beige Building
Ken Wolter/shutterstock

Family Christian Stores

The world's largest Christian-focused retailer became another casualty of the retail apocalypse in February 2017, when Family Christian said it planned to close its remaining 240 stores by May. The company had previously transitioned to a nonprofit organization in 2013 and filed for Chapter 11 in 2015.

Opened Doors Showcasing Interior of BCBGMAXAZRIA Store on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California, Numerous Mannequins Wearing Clothing From the Store


Liquidation sales started in early 2017 for the 120 mostly U.S.-based stores owned by high-end women's clothing line BCBG, which filed for bankruptcy at the same time. The global brand founded by Tunisian designer Max Azria was acquired later that year and continues to operate online.

Front Exterior of RadioShack in Chelsea Neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City with Many Store Closing Sale Signs in the Windows
Drew Angerer/Staff/Getty Images


RadioShack, once a major U.S. retailer for mobile products, was hit hard by the retail apocalypse and quickly changing technologies. After changes in management and eventual bankruptcy in 2017, it partnered with HobbyTown USA on a new concept: "express stores," with merchandise selected by HobbyTown. But its once-massive national footprint is no more.

Exterior of Closed Wet Seal, San Francisco with Windows and Front Doors Completely Covered with Paper
Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images

Wet Seal

Originally founded as Lorne's in the '60s in California, Wet Seal was incorporated in 1990 under its new name. The familiar retailer was known for West Coast-inspired fast fashion, especially for teenagers. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015 and abruptly closed all its stores in 2017. Later that year, the brand was sold and relaunched as an online-only retailer.

Interior of The Limited Clothing Company, Oak Brook, Illinois, Two Racks of Different Kinds of Women's Clothing in the Foreground with 'The Limited' Brightly Lit on the Wall in the Back
Laiah F./Yelp

The Limited

Once a mall stalwart, this well-known fashion retailer went bankrupt at the beginning of 2017 and closed all of its roughly 250 stores. Though it initially planned to become an e-commerce company in its own right, that plan was short-lived. Instead, southern department-store chain Belk purchased the brand and relaunched it as a private label.

Numerous Golf Clubs for Sale, Golfsmith Store, Manhattan, New York City with Other Golf Accessories in the Background
Mike Ehrmann/Staff/Getty Images


Golfsmith was riding high before the recession, opening new stores all over as Tiger Woods helped the sport surge in popularity. But the good times didn't last, and the chain filed for bankruptcy in fall of 2016 when it had more than 160 stores. Dick's Sporting Goods bought the company at auction later that year, after which the stores were either liquidated or rebranded.

Front Exterior of Sports Authority, Boulder, Colorado with One Car Parked in Parking Spots That Line the Sidewalk

Sports Authority

At its peak, Sports Authority operated more than 460 stores in 45 states and Puerto Rico. In 2016, though, it filed for bankruptcy, and the brand name and intellectual property was sold to Dick's Sporting Goods. There was no official reason cited for the closure, but it's thought to have been due to debt problems.

Interior of Sport Chalet, Burbank, California, Several Racks of Mens' Athletic Clothes with Numerous Store Closing Sale Signs Hung From the Ceiling
Jeff B./Yelp

Sport Chalet

Sport Chalet, based on the West Coast, was a sporting goods chain with a giant footprint — most stores were over 35,000 square feet, with many featuring diving pools. In 2014, it was sold to Vestis Retail Group, which absorbed its debts. In 2016, the stores closed and Vestis said it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Front Exterior of Closed Hancock Fabrics, Manchester, Connecticut, Windows Covered with Paper, Empty
Front Exterior of Closed Hancock Fabrics, Manchester, Connecticut, Windows Covered with Paper, Empty by JJBers (CC BY)

Hancock Fabrics

Sewing enthusiasts lost a beloved brand when Hancock Fabrics said it would shutter all of its 185 stores in April 2016. The fabric retailer attempted to find a buyer after declaring bankruptcy earlier in 2016, but the high bidder was a liquidator. The chain had previously filed for bankruptcy in 2007 and closed more than 100 stores then.

Front Exterior of A&P Grocery Store, Jersey City, New Jersey, Front Doors and a Few Shopping Carts
Chris Hondros/Staff/Getty Images


A&P, short for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., was the nation's largest grocery store chain from 1915 to 1975. In 1930, it was the world's largest retailer with $2.9 billion in sales and 16,000 stores. But even A&P couldn't weather the effects of the recession and, after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, closed its doors in 2015.

Front Exterior of Sleepy's Mattress Store, Farmington, Connecticut, Along a Strip Mall, a Car Is Parked in a Parking Space in Front
Front Exterior of Sleepy's Mattress Store, Farmington, Connecticut, Along a Strip Mall, a Car Is Parked in a Parking Space in Front by Mike Mozart (CC BY)


Sleepy's, a mattress retail chain based in the Northeast, was founded in 1931 as Bedding Discount Center. By 2014, it had 1,000 stores across the country but was purchased in 2015 by Mattress Firm, and its retail stores were rebranded. For those nostalgic for the brand, it does still have an online presence.

Large Logo Sign of Delia's Clothing Store, Manchester, Connecticut, with Store Closing Signs Along the Edges
Large Logo Sign of Delia's Clothing Store, Manchester, Connecticut, with Store Closing Signs Along the Edges by Mike Mozart (CC BY)


If you were a tween or teen girl in the '90s, you've probably never stopped mourning the loss of Delia's and its sassy catalog, filled with fresh-faced everygirls that could totally be your best friends. Though Delia's started out as a mail-order company, it opened bricks-and-mortar stores starting in 1999. But the new millennium brought increasing competition from other retailers like Forever 21 and H&M, and in 2014, Delia's declared bankruptcy and shut its roughly 100 stores.

Front Exterior of Coldwater Creek Store, Manchester, Connecticut with a Store Closing Sign in the Front on the Sidewalk and Numerous Store Closing Signs in the Windows
Front Exterior of Coldwater Creek Store, Manchester, Connecticut with a Store Closing Sign in the Front on the Sidewalk and Numerous Store Closing Signs in the Windows by Mike Mozart (CC BY)

Coldwater Creek

This women's clothing retailer was once a staple at malls across the country, but it filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and said it would close all 365 of its stores. Under new ownership, it reopened a handful of stores in 2018, but closures related to the pandemic cut too deeply into profits, and those stores stayed dark as of mid-2020. It's possible the chain may see yet another revival: It was purchased by a Hong Kong-based firm later in the year.

Front Exterior of Sign on Windows of Virgin Megastore on the Champs Elysées, Paris, White Stone Building
Dominique Charriau/Stringer/Getty Images

Virgin Megastores

Virgin Megastores, which focused on CDs, books, and records, first opened in London in 1976. After expanding to hundreds of stores worldwide and later selling off various stores to other companies, it closed all locations in the U.K., U.S., and Australia by 2012. The stores are still open in the Middle East.

Interior of CompUSA, San Francisco, Large Red Sign Hanging, People Walking in the Foreground, 2004
Justin Sullivan/Staff/Getty Images


CompUSA, which sold computer hardware and software, was started in 1984 as Soft Warehouse in Texas. By 1991, the name had changed to CompUSA, and it became publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. But after a series of liquidations and ownership changes, CompUSA was consolidated under TigerDirect, its parent company, in 2012.

Front Exterior of Fashion Bug Store, Coon Rapids, Minnesota, Several Store Closing Signs in the Windows and Glass Doors
TwinCities D./Yelp

Fashion Bug

This budget-friendly women's apparel retailer used to be a familiar sight at strip malls across the country and had more than 1,200 stores at its peak in the late '90s. In 2012, stores were closed after Ascena Retail Group, best known today for its brands Ann Taylor, Loft, and Lane Bryant, bought Fashion Bug's parent company, Charming Shoppes.

Last Slim-Fast Sponsored 'Running of the Brides', Filene's Basement, Columbus, Ohio, Several Brides Rushing with Many Wedding Dresses in the Foreground
Jamie Sabau/Stringer/Getty Images

Filene's Basement

Filene's Basement was once the oldest off-price retailer in the country, known for its high-end goods and automatic markdown system. In 2009, after the economic crisis, it was sold by Retail Ventures to Buxbaum Group, which then filed for bankruptcy. It then was sold to Syms Corp., which filed for bankruptcy and held a liquidation sale. By the end of 2011, all Filene's Basement stores were closed permanently.

Borders Books Storefront in a Mall, Chantilly, Virginia with Several Store Closing Signs Hung Inside

Borders Books

Thanks to slowing sales and mounting debts, Borders Books closed all of its U.S. stores by 2011. Its online store, also on its last legs, allowed customers to browse books, but then sent buyers to Barnes & Noble to complete their checkout. The closures also spelled the end for Waldenbooks, which had been merged with Borders years earlier.

Front Exterior of Blockbuster, New York City, Large Windows and Glass Doors, Two People Outside on the Sidewalk
Andrew H. Walker/Stringer/Getty Images


Technically, Blockbuster hasn't disappeared — there is one lone store left in Bend, Oregon, which operates a popular Twitter account. Largely thanks to competition from Netflix, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and closed the majority of its remaining locations between November 2013 and January 2014. A handful of locations managed to hang on in the years that followed, but the Oregon store is the last holdout.

Woolworth Building Sign in Lower Manhattan, New York City, Gold-Toned Words and '233' Along Windows

Woolworth Co.

Woolworth grew from a small, five-cent store in the late 19th century to a multinational corporation with over 8,000 locations. And yet, even Woolworth succumbed to the difficulties of capitalist competition, in part because discounters like Kmart were eating into its profits. By the 1980s, the company relied less on its  historic brand and more on acquisitions like the Foot Locker. Although no bricks-and-mortar Woolworth stores remain in the U.S. — the final stores were shuttered in 1997 — it has continued operations as Foot Locker, Inc.