Whenever I see retail stores in strip malls across America slowly losing business to the point of turning into ghost buildings, I'm really saddened. Mostly for the individuals who work there because the broader collapse of the company is not their fault...although some folks in management might point the finger there. Nevertheless, the picture above is slowly becoming a common sight in much of America, thanks largely to technology and apps (like Amazon and Wal-Mart). My former colleague, Brian Sozzi, is a retail stock expert who is warning about some retail companies who have stocks at risk of declining in the coming years unless something is done. If you hold any of these, it's not time to panic yet but just be vigilant and know that your money may be better invested elsewhere.
1. J.C. Penney (JCP) - Quite possibly the most obvious name on the list as the company has been suffering for several years now and after some restructuring it's been trying to hold on for a while. In recent weeks, the company announced that it will close 130-140 stores before the second quarter of 2017. These closures represent 13% to 14% of the company's current store base and less than 5% of annual sales.
2. Sears (SHLD) - For similar reasons, Sears is also suffering and is currently in the process of closing 150 of its under-performing locations and Kmart stores in order to preserve the cash on its balance sheet.
3. Macy's (M) - Oddly enough, Macy's is hurting too, and it is planning to close 68 shops as part of a grander plan to close 100 more stores by the early spring season. Weaker store traffic has caused the company to take this action in order to save the money it has.
4. Foot Locker (FL) - It's hard to keep up with a lot of online shoe retailers and similar shops like DSW and Finish Line. In the fourth quarter of 2016, Foot Locker closed a total of 51 stores and plans to close 100 more in 2017.
5. Kohl's (KSS) - Like its department store peers, Kohl's is having a hard time making ends meet too. In 2016, the company closed a total of 16 stores and management decided that the stores themselves were just too large. The company announced recently that it would operate 500 of its remaining 1,150 locations with much lower square footage and would look to lease out the extra space to other retailers.
6. CVS Pharmacy (CVS) - Due to uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and whatever plan is created by Congress, the pharmacy chain announced that it would close 70 stores. Not to mention that tax reforms would also be harmful to the company.
7. Office Depot (ODP) - The office supply store closed 123 stores in 2016 and it expects that another 75 more will shut their doors in 2017. Can you blame them? With Staples as a competitor and much of office supplies being ordered online it's no wonder that the company is suffering.
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