8. The Gap
Stores closed or closing this year: 89
The same group of consumers that raised online hell for a few days over The Gap's proposed logo change a few years back are far more enamored with what's on the retailer's bags than what's in them. Consumers have been leaving the brand steadily since just after its khakis-and-swing-dancing last hurrah in the '90s and increasingly flocking to the parent company's other shops, including Old Navy, Banana Republic and Athleta. Unless they're planning on choreographing a routine to Brian Setzer's version of Jump, Jive an' Wail at a Halloween party this year, those same consumers will likely keep bypassing the gap for the pop-up shops in its wake.
Stores closed or closing this year: 93
Somewhere, a sorority sister with dreams of an awesome '80s costume is weeping silently in a mall bathroom. Like Chess King, Suncoast Video and the '80s mall staples before it, Esprit has been relegated to consumer memory and the occasional cameo in a John Hughes or Amy Heckerling film. The German-owned company realized it wasn't competitive in North America, mostly because nobody wants to look like a Patrick Nagel painting or a Robert Palmer background singer anymore.
6. Ritz/Wolf Camera
Stores closed or closing this year: 137
Stores closed or closing this year: 175 to 200 Know why people shopped at Pacific Sunwear for much of the past 30 years? Because it introduced them to brands such as Hurley and Quiksilver that folks in surf and skate culture were wearing. Know why they haven't been shopping there recently? Because "PacSun" decided to cede those items to shops including Zumiez (ZUMZ) and Tilly's (TLYS) and go with their own line of goods instead. That's how you lose a few hundred stores at a clip and become pretty much the last place people would shop if they rode a surfboard, snowboard or skateboard. A costume shop may have more surf and skate cred at this point.
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