Brookstone, a nationwide specialty realtor known for its consumer gadgets and electronics, is closing its store in the SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina at the end of January. The mall, which is owned by Simon Property Group Inc (NYSE:SPG), said no new tenant has been announced yet for the soon-to-be vacant space.
Brookstone is just one of a large number of well-known retailers to close up shop at SouthPark Mall over the last year. With store closures expected to accelerate in 2018, chances are good that SouthPark will see additional stores close this year.
Brookstone, like many large retailers, has suffered during the retail apocalypse. In April 2014, the company filed for bankruptcy, with plans to sell itself. Two months later, it was announced that Chinese investment firm Sailing Capital Overseas Investments Fund, L.P. and Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group Co., Ltd. acquired it for more than $173.0 million. Brookstone emerged from bankruptcy in July 2014.
Under the agreement, Brookstone continues to operate in malls and airports, and publish a catalog. It has also ramped up its online presence. The new owners also expanded the retailer’s brand into China.
Because Brookstone is a private company, it does not announce quarterly or annual results. But it appears as though the company is streamlining its physical operations and shuttering less profitable stores. The SouthPark store closure is the second Brookstone to shutter in 2018.
Brookstone also announced it is closing its store in the Eastview Mall in Victor, New York. A closing date has not yet been confirmed. Nor has the number of layoffs. The gadget store, which was in virtually every American mall in the 1980s and 1990s, is the only store in the area. Those who are going to miss shopping at Brookstone will need to travel to Buffalo to do their shopping.
SouthPark Mall Retail Closures in 2017
Store closures at SouthPark Mall show that the retail apocalypse doesn’t care about location. SouthPark is a shopping mall located in the upscale neighborhood of SouthPark, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The mall has 1,621,000 square feet of retail space and over 150 stores—including American Girl, Apple Inc (NASADQ:AAPL), Burberry Group plc (LON:BRBY), Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE:JWN), Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF)—making it the largest mall in both Charlotte and in the Carolinas.
But being in a mall in an affluent neighborhood doesn’t guarantee success. A number of stores have closed at SouthPark over the last year.
Hollister, the surfing-themed clothing store, closed its doors at the end of January. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF) is the parent company of Hollister and has been struggling over the last number of years. As a result, it has been focusing on its online business and shuttering less profitable or underperforming stores.
In June, The Track & Field Store closed its doors after just two years in SouthPark mall. The fitness apparel brand, which occupied a 1,695-square-foot location, first opened in June 2015.
And in October, Aerosoles, the women’s shoemaker, said it will close two Charlotte-area locations. The announcement came about a month after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The location in SouthPark Mall is expected to close in early 2018 while the location at Concord Mills was expected to close in December 2017.
Fierce competition from physical stores like Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) and online competition from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) will continue to put pressure on once well-known prosperous retailers.
In 2017, major U.S. retailers shuttered a record 6,995 stores; retail bankruptcies were up 31% year-over-year. But it looks like retail store closures in 2018 will easily eclipse that record.
“Popular electronics retailer closing SouthPark store at the end of January,” The Charlotte Observer, January 9, 2018.
“Brookstone Files for Bankruptcy and Plans to Sell Itself,” The New York Times, April 3, 2014.
“Brookstone to close at Eastview and new authentic Chinese restaurant opens at Henrietta karaoke lounge,” Democrat & Chronicle, January 5, 2018.
“About Us,” SouthPark Mall, last accessed January 10, 2018.
“More changes are underway at SouthPark mall,” The Charlotte Observer, February 9, 2017.
“Another store closes its doors in SouthPark mall,” The Charlotte Observer, June 6, 2017.
“Weekly Store Openings and Closures Tracker 2018 #1: A Review of 2017’s Record US Closures; Sears to Close Over 100 More Stores; Macy’s to Close 11 Stores,” Fung Global Retail Tech, January 5, 2018.