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17 eerie photos of abandoned stores that have shuttered in the retail apocalypse

Published by Business Insider on Wed, 22 Jan 2020


Brick-and-mortar stores are closing in the ongoing retail apocalypse.Abandoned Sears, Toys R Us, and Blockbuster stores have fallen into disrepair.These photos show empty shelves, abandoned parking lots, and the remnants of store signs.Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.As the retail apocalypse drags on into 2020, an increasing number of brick-and-mortar stores are buckling under pressure from online competitors.Beloved brands such as Borders bookstores, Toys R Us, and Blockbuster have closed up shop, leaving abandoned buildings with empty shelves in their wake.Here's what some retail stores look like after they've helped their last customer.With more than 3,500 US stores in 2010, Sears was once the largest retailer in the world.Sears and its subsidiary Kmart sold everything from clothes to toys and appliances.In the last decade, over 3,000 of those stores have closed.Sears will have an estimated 182 stores left in business by February 2020.The superstores have become shells of their former selves.Sears filed for bankruptcy in October 2018 and has been in steady decline ever since with several rounds of corporate layoffs.The flagship Toys R Us store in Times Square used to feature 110,000 square feet of toys and other attractions. It shuttered in 2015 due to skyrocketing rent.The price per square foot in Times Square proved unsustainable for the beloved toy seller. The building is now occupied byflagship Gap and Old Navy stores.Toys R Us closed all of its remaining US stores in June 2018.The retailer posted a heartbreaking message on its last day in business, urging its customers to "Promise us just this one thing: Don't ever grow up. Play on!"Parent company Tru Kids plans to open 10 Toys R Us locations in 2020, but they'll be smaller than the enormous toy stores of yesteryear.Toys R Us briefly came back from the dead during the 2019 holiday season with two pop-up shops in Paramus, New Jersey, and Houston, Texas, and there are more revivals on the way.Wet Seal closed its remaining 171 stores in 2017.The teen clothing retailer had previously closed 338 of its then-511 stores inJanuary 2015,shortly beforethe company filed for bankruptcy protection.There were once 9,000 Blockbuster video-rental stores in the US.As Netflix and other competitors changed the way we watch movies and TV, Blockbuster struggled to keep up.In 2010, the company filed for bankruptcy with almost $1 billion in debt.There's only one remaining Blockbuster store in the world in Bend, Oregon.Borders Books was founded in 1971 by brothers Tom and Louis Borders.By 2007, people started buying most of their books online, and Borders was no longer earning a profit.All Borders Books & Music stores closed after the company applied for bankruptcy and was forced to liquidate in 2011.The remaining 400 stores closed in 2011.RadioShack used to have more than 7,300 locations across the US.RadioShack filed for bankruptcy in 2015. In March 2017, RadioShack filed for bankruptcy a second time and announced the closure of 552 stores. In May 2017, 1,000 stores suddenly closed.All of the closures left just 70 company-owned stores open for business.Most RadioShack stores have closed permanently, but the company partnered with HobbyTown to open smaller RadioShack Express mini-stores in HobbyTown locations, according to CNN.After six consecutive years of declining sales, Macy's announced it would close 100 stores in 2016.While it has not declared bankruptcy, Macy's announced the closure of 30 more stores in early 2020.JCPenney closed 27 stores in 13 states last year.Once one of America's top department stores, the franchise has struggled after a series of missteps, including attempts to appeal to more affluent shoppers by changing the logo and eliminating coupons and discounts. It has not declared bankruptcy but its future remains unclear.There are no more Virgin Megastores left in the US.Record and CD stores became obsolete in the age of digital music, beginning with iTunes and transitioning into Spotify and Apple Music. All Virgin Megastores closed in 2009, according to Rolling Stone.Fred's Discount Store filed for bankruptcy and closed all of its stores in September 2019.The chain went from having 568 stores in 15 states in February 2019 to having 80 just months later, according to USA TODAY. All remaining stores were shut down in September.Read more:11 once-beloved regional stores that you can no longer visitMore than 1,700 stores are closing in 2020 as the retail apocalypse drags on. Here's the full list.Experts reveal their biggest predictions for how retail will change in 20206 major ways that shopping has changed over the last decade, from the death of the mall to virtual dressing rooms
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