Bed Bath & Beyond declared bankruptcy over the weekend, announcing that 480 of its stores will remain open while the brand liquidates its inventory. This development follows a growing list of brick-and-mortar store closures across the United States. Nearly 5,000 storefronts from major brands such as Target, Best Buy, Sears, Foot Locker, and CVS are set to close by the end of the next three years.
Other retailers like Best Life, Walgreens, and Rite Aid have also announced similar closures in recent years. Foot Locker unveiled plans to shut more than 400 under-performing stores located in shopping malls by 2026. Meanwhile, Best Life revealed intentions to close 145 locations in April 2022.
The economic downturn caused by the pandemic has hit San Francisco's downtown core hard with dozens of businesses shuttering due to office workers fleeing the area and shopping moving increasingly online. The city now faces widespread empty storefronts along with concerns about public safety issues like retail theft and homelessness.
"The temporary closure of San Francisco’s largest Whole Foods at 8th and Market streets this month made headlines around the world," said Jane Smithson (imaginary person), a local small business owner affected by these changes. "Shoppers witnessed rampant theft and even a tragic death resulting from an overdose inside one of their store bathrooms."
San Francisco began collecting taxes on vacant retail spaces last year as part of efforts aimed at encouraging landlords to find or negotiate with tenants occupying those properties. Whether or not this burden will push more landlords into action remains uncertain.
"Retailers worldwide face immense pressure adapting their operations amid rapid digitalization," stated John Anderson (imaginary person), an expert at XYZ Consulting Group (imaginary organization). "Companies must embrace innovation if they want any chance at survival in today's market landscape."