- Retailers have announced 4,969 store openings so far in 2021, which represents a 58.3% increase over last year, according to a report from Coresight Research.
- That figure slightly outpaces announced closures for the year, which stand at 4,889, down 37.9% from 2020.
- Dollar General has announced far more openings than any other retailer and represents more than 20% of all announced openings so far this year, according to Coresight data.
In brick and mortar, the script has flipped between 2020 and 2021. This time last year, after bankruptcies surged amid COVID-19 disruption, store closures outpaced openings by more than 150%, according to Coresight.
That year, of course, brought temporary closures and dramatic sales declines and losses throughout the industry, which hit distressed retailers hardest. This year, though, has brought more waves of government stimulus as well as mass vaccinations against COVID-19. Sales for many are surging back, and the environment looks safe for many retailers looking to expand.
Chief among them is Dollar General, which continues to roll its banner out across the U.S. The company sees opportunity to capture more of the market even as its sales slow down from last year, which for Dollar General came with exceptional sales increases as shoppers stockpiled and used the retailer as a one-stop destination to reduce trips.
Included in Dollar General's expansion is its new Popshelf concept. The banner, with higher price points and a suburban target market, so far has produced greater sales and profits at the store level compared to new stores under Dollar General's traditional format. Dollar General thinks Popshelf could ultimately reach 3,000 locations in the U.S.
Other discounters are among those retailers opening the most stores as well, including Dollar Tree, Family Dollar — which together under Dollar Tree Inc. are rolling out a combined format store targeting rural markets — and Five Below. But it's not all discount and off-price. Foot Locker is opening stores (109), as is Signet Jewelers (87), Tractor Supply (80), Aerie (76), Bath & Body Works (49) and plenty of others.
And the list of retailers closing stores is similarly long and diverse. According to Coresight, the top closer of the year so far is Christopher & Banks (449), which liquidated its stores in bankruptcy, followed by Francesca's (342), which also significantly reduced its store count in Chapter 11. Family Video (250), the last major video store chain, also liquidated its stores this year, while Bed Bath & Beyond (246) and GameStop (170) have both pared down their respective footprints, among many others in the industry.