Forget the Retail Apocalypse: These Chains Remain in Growth Mode

  • Five Below and Burlington Stores are expanding at fastest clip
  • In contrast, J.C. Penney leads industry in shrinking footprint
The Death of the Department Store

The retail industry has been closing thousands of locations this year, with chains like Sears Holdings Corp. and J.C. Penney Co. shuttering storefronts across the country.

But not everyone is on a diet.

A number of discount retailers and other chains are still in expansion mode. That includes Burlington Stores Inc., an off-price brand that said on Tuesday it had added 31 locations during its latest quarter. That represents quarterly growth of more than 5 percent.

And Burlington isn’t the fastest-growing major chain. That distinction goes to Five Below Inc., a teen-focused retailer that typically sells items below five bucks. It’s expanding at the speediest clip of any company in the Russell 3000 with a minimum of 500 stores.

Growth across the retail landscape has been muted during the so-called retail apocalypse. The average increase for the industry was less than 1 percent during the last quarter.

J.C. Penney, a 115-year-old department-store chain, made the biggest cut to its footprint. The department store shuttered 13 percent of its locations, aiming to cope with slowing foot traffic.

— With assistance by Karishma Motwani, and Marina Girgis

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