Beloved outdoor retailer closes store for unusual reason

Certain brick-and-mortar retailers had a difficult time last year with some choosing to close store locations that were either underperforming or had huge theft problems. Some retailers closed locations in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganizations or liquidations, as well.

Foot Locker  (FL) – Get Free Report last year said it would close 275 of its locations and another 125 affiliated Champs Sports locations by 2026. The reduction in Champs stores, which will be about half of that brand, was necessary, since Nike  (NKE) – Get Free Report had cut Foot Locker’s allotment of shoe products. The parent company decided to send product to its Foot Locker and Kids Foot Locker stores and not Champs stores, CEO Mary Dillon said during the company’s 2023 second quarter earnings call.

Related: Beloved designer brand retailer files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

As for the reduction of Foot Locker stores, the retail chain won’t actually shrink, as it plans to eliminate weaker stores and slowly replace them with new concepts.

In 2015, CVS  (CVS) – Get Free Report reached an agreement with Target  (TGT) – Get Free Report to operate in-store pharmacies at about 1,800 Target locations. The deal, which was valued at $1.9 billion at the time, seemed like a good deal for both retailers.

But by 2021, CVS had assessed the performance of its Target in-store pharmacies and decided that it would close hundreds of locations nationwide as underperforming stores were impacting its outlook. The company said it evaluated changes in population, consumer buying patterns and future health needs to make sure it had the right stores in the right locations.

CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid close locations

CVS said that it would reduce store density in certain locations and close about 300 locations a year for three years. In September 2023, it said it would close a total of 900 stores by 2024.

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s  (WBA) – Get Free Report Walgreens pharmacy chain in June 2023 said it would close up to 450 locations to simplify its business, and Rite Aid filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 15, 2023. The bankrupt pharmacy chain has filed court documents through Jan. 16 seeking to close 254 of its 2,100 stores.

Iconic outdoor retailer L.L. Bean lately has been bucking the trend of brick-and-mortar retailers that are downsizing their retail footprint and closing underperforming stores. The Freeport, Maine, retailer, which operates 98 stores globally, expanded its operations last year, opening four new stores from Aug. 25 to Oct. 6, 2023, with two located in Massachusetts as well as its first two stores in Quebec, Canada, both in the greater Montreal area.

In addition to the brick-and-mortar openings, the company added a French language e-commerce site for Canadian customers, new Dillard’s and Moosejaw wholesale accounts and added 10 independent specialty retailers in the Southeast U.S. to sell its merchandise, according to a statement in August.

Customers make their way out of L.L. Bean in Freeport, Maine, Jan. 25, 2023. (Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Portland Press Herald/Getty Images

L.L. Bean closes store that’s too small

L.L. Bean’s expansion plans have taken a slight detour as the company on Jan. 22 said it will close its New Haven, Conn., store at the Shops at Yale on Elm Street that opened in 2018, the New Haven Independent reported. The store’s last day of operation will be Feb. 11.

The company said that the two-story, 9,000 square-foot New Haven store does not fit its bigger store concept, as it prefers stores ranging from 15,000 to 20,000 square feet. The company will be focusing the larger-size locations going forward.

The L.L. Bean chain managed to overcome the economic effects from Covid-19 and continue to grow after closing all of its stores for 100 days during the pandemic starting on March 17, 2020.

Founded in 1912, L.L. Bean is a private, family owned retail chain, selling outdoor apparel, footwear and gear.

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