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10 Once-Great Retailers That Are Now Pop-Up Halloween Shops

4. Sears (SHLD - Get Report)
Stores closed or closing this year: 182  

OK, Target (TGT), Wal-Mart (WMT) and Sears: Which of you will be carrying costumes, candy and other seasonal-aisle favorites this Halloween season. Good. Now which of you will be selling anything else once Halloween is over? Not so fast, Sears. The floundering retailer announced last year that it planned to close 120 Kmart and mainline Sears stores to generate cash. That apparently wasn't enough, as Sears announced plans to close another 62 specialty shops this year. We're guessing the Halloween retailers are as glad to get Sears' square footage and leases as Sears was to part with them, but at least the Halloween shops' nightmare ends in November.  

3. Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF - Get Report)
Stores closed or closing this year: 300  

Apparently the only thing that wears worse than '80s and '90s nostalgia is the 2000s. Who would have guessed that shirts emblazoned with a retailer's logo, catalogs brought to you by your local special victims unit and a business model mocked by The Situation would have trouble making it in 2012? A&F doesn't plan to close that many stores in North America until 2015, but faux-wood shuttered storefronts are already prime Halloween shop real estate. The shame of it is you don't even have to spend much at A&F to make an Abercrombie costume: Make yourself up like a catalog model, wear a pair of A&F shorts and nothing else, play bad cocktail-lounge house music at full volume and stand behind a counter looking disaffected. That's it. When you're spending that little to effectively mock a multinational brand, that doesn't say much about its future.  

2. Blockbuster
Stores closed or closing this year: 500  

Wait, wasn't the old Blockbuster the Halloween shop last year? Yes, but thanks to Dish Network (DISH) the site of the other one in your neighborhood will be competing for temporary costume dollars as well this year. Nearly streamed out of existence by Netflix (NFLX), iTunes, on-demand cable and several other more convenient options, Blockbuster is down to just about 1,000 locations and has left thousands of empty storefronts and heavily scratched used DVDs in its wake. There are "sexy" costumes for just about every profession at Halloween pop-up shops, but "sexy video store clerk" is in less demand than a VHS copy of Navy SEALs.  

1. Fashion Bug (CHRS)
Stores closed or closing this year: 600  

Fashion Bug carried plus-sized garments big enough to fit most folks, but apparently there still wasn't enough room for both it and DressBarn after their parent companies merged this year. While sister stores Lane Bryant and Catherines Plus survived, Fashion Bug and its hundreds of stores were squashed in the exchange. That's a lot of storefront to fill, but seasonal shoppers should steer clear unless there's Halloween-specific signage. Going into a Fashion Bug and asking if it's a costume shop could meet with horrifying results.  

-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

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