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The 2018 Retail Apocalypse, in 6 Charts and a Map

Store closures are up as online shopping grows—but other measures suggest brick-and-mortar retail is still doing OK.
This map shows the millions of square feet in Sears store closures.
This map shows the millions of square feet in Sears store closures.David Montgomery/CityLab

One of the big trends of 2017 was the ongoing “retail apocalypse,” the apparent disaster of declining sales and store closures facing brick-and-mortar retailers.

Well, 2018 was more of the same. One year after rounds of store closures by J.C. Penney and Macy’s, 2018 brought shutdowns by Sears and Toys “R” Us—not to mention Mattress Firm, Bon-Ton, Abercrombie & Fitch and more.