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About 25,000 stores will close over the course of 2020, according to Coresight Research. That’s way up from 8,000 retail closures the firm predicted at the beginning of the year and 15,000 at the beginning of March.
Not all retailers, however, are pulling up stakes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which has triggered dramatic changes in consumer purchasing habits. Here’s a look at the big retailers that are bucking the COVID-19 closure trend by finding new opportunities, opening new locations, hiring new workers and expanding their operations.
Last updated: Sept. 14, 2020
Planned store openings: 49
Target’s expansion includes 17 new locations in 2020 and 32 in the near future. Many will be in California and New York, but it’s truly a nationwide rollout. Illinois, Massachusetts, Texas, Utah and Washington are part of the initial 2020 phase. After that, new Target locations will be arriving in Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Oregon and beyond.
Planned store openings: 30
Ulta Beauty originally planned to open 75 new stores in 2020, but the COVID-19 shutdown forced America’s largest beauty retailer to push those plans back to 2021 and reduce the number of new stores first to 40, then to 30. In early September, better-than-expected financial results gave Ulta the boost it needed to justify the expansion. It’s important to note, however, that the plan will likely include the permanent closure of 19 current locations.
Planned store openings: 35
Burlington is advertising dozens of grand openings scheduled for September and October across the country and even in Puerto Rico. In August, it opened new stores in California and Illinois. Burlington was not buying into the brick-and-mortar death spiral contemporary wisdom in 2019 when it announced it was planning to open 50 new stores as sales and earnings soared. It’s unclear if the 35 upcoming grand openings represent all that’s left of that plan in the wake of the pandemic or if 15 more are on the horizon.
Planned store openings: 75-80
In late July, it was revealed that home improvement/lawn/garden/farm retail chain Tractor Supply had beaten expectations not just with same-store sales, but also with net sales and profits. The news fueled the belief that Tractor Supply will, indeed, go through with its plans to open 75 to 80 new locations in the coming year. Chain Store Age reports, however, that the pandemic may cause delays or other interruptions.
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Planned store openings: Undisclosed
Macy’s was getting dragged down by the imploding in-mall business model long before the pandemic — countless reports cited widespread Macy’s closures as evidence of the brick-and-mortar retail death spiral.
Macy’s, which raised enough cash to avoid bankruptcy in June, is regrouping and shedding the carcass of the American mall. Its new business model calls for opening smaller-format stores away from declining malls, but it’s unclear right now how many or where.
Planned store openings: Hundreds
<h2>Ollie’s Bargain Outlet</h2><ul>
The COVID-19 crisis has been good to Ollie’s, with recent financial reports showing earnings, revenue and sales numbers that are among the best in the discount retailer’s nearly four-decade history. In 2019, the company’s CEO announced plans to increase the chain’s number of locations to 950, up from 374 now. CNBC recently reported that Ollie’s is planning to open 50 to 55 stores per year, and Ollie’s website has announced the recent opening of dozens of new locations already with several more on the way in the coming weeks.
Planned store openings: 50
At the end of May, discount grocery chain Lidl opened its 100th U.S. store in Suwanee, Georgia. The last few years have witnessed strong growth in the U.S. from the Germany-based company, and COVID-19 isn’t slowing it down.
In August, Lidl unveiled plans to expand its reach by 50% with the arrival of 50 new locations throughout the East Coast by 2021. The move is expected to cost $500 million, create 2,000 new jobs and move Lidl toward the big leagues with the likes of Trader Joe’s and Aldi — at least out East.
Planned store openings: 70
In reality, Lidl has a long way to go if it wants to compete with Aldi anywhere west of the Eastern Seaboard. In June, the discount grocer opened its 2,000th store and is now planning a move into its 38th U.S. state — Arizona — as part of a more than 70-store expansion. That’s on top of roughly 30 stores already opened in 2020 for a total of about 100 on the year.
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Planned store openings: 2
Warehouse club BJ’s dazzled investors with eye-popping numbers surrounding its in-store sales, digital sales and membership subscription earnings in the first quarter of 2020. By midsummer, BJ’s was clearly moving forward with plans for two new locations in New York; one in Newburgh, the other in Long Island City. They will be locations No. 44 and No. 45 in the Empire State and 220 and 221 nationwide. The new locations are set to open in 2021.
Planned store openings: 7
BJ’s direct competitor is Costco, and the undisputed warehouse club king is not letting this BJ’s expansion go unchecked. Costco already opened two new locations in Canada in August and is set to open seven more locations across the United States — three by the end of September and four in October.
Planned store openings: 100
Prior to the pandemic, beauty products and services chain Sephora announced ongoing expansion efforts that included the launch of 100 new stores in North America in 2020. It opened 110 new stores across the world in 2019. There have been no announcements regarding curtailments, cancellations or postponements since the February announcement, and at the end of May, Sephora had already reopened 70 of its existing stores in 13 states.
Planned store openings: Dozens to hundreds
Texas-based decor/home goods retailer At Home had been planning a major expansion from its current 206 stores to 600. Over the last year and a half, however, the company spooked investors by taking on significant debt after taking advantage of low mortgage rates to fuel the expansion.
Now it’s slowing down its plans for growth, but At Home still intends to increase its store count by 10% per year over the next three years.
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Planned store openings: 120
Lego is planning to build on its 612-location worldwide toy store empire with the addition of 120 new locations in 2020. It’s important to note that it’s a global expansion. Many of the stores will open in China, and it’s unclear exactly how many will be in the United States. Lego cited a trend toward more adults buying pricey toy sets as part of the reason for its confidence in branching out.
Planned store openings: 100-120
By the end of May, teen/tween discount chain Five Below had already reopened 75% of its stores and showed no signs of slowing down with its years-long expansion — it already opened 125 and 150 stores in 2018 and 2019, respectively. At the same time it announced its near-total reopening, Five Below confirmed plans for as many as 120 new locations by the end of fiscal 2020.
Planned store openings: 500
Deep discount retailers like Dollar Tree were well positioned to capitalize on dramatic shifts in consumer purchasing habits during the pandemic — and capitalize it has. As in-store sales soar, Dollar Tree is branching out. It lowered its expansion plans from 550 new stores down to 500, but that’s still an additional 325 Dollar Tree locations and 175 Family Dollar stores.
Planned store openings: 1,000
Dollar General has been riding the same wave as its chief competitor Dollar Tree and is expanding even more dramatically. Dollar General, which operates nearly 17,000 stores in 46 states, is opening twice as many new locations in fiscal year 2020 as Dollar Tree. It’s also relocating 110 stores and remodeling 1,670 others.
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