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Chain Closes, Locations Available

Like Sports Authority before it, the abrupt and large-scale closure of retailer Toys 'R' Us has left a bevvy of empty locations, many of which are in very good condition and in very good locations, in total numbering around 700. Some are being sought through bankruptcy court. And so it's not very shocking to see a whole pack of major retailers who are prepared to occupy the best spots. But with just about every retailer looking at closing stores in our vastly over-built retail landscape, will all of the locations find suitors?

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Hobby Lobby, Burlington, and TJ Maxx are among the largest expected to fill the newly-vacant spaces with marketers looking to fill holes in their geographic coverage with a keen eye on the competitive environment. For these retailers, another retailer liquidating is a great opportunity for them to expand; and it is important to remember that while many other retailers are closing older store locations and downsizing overall, these marketers still open up new stores all the time. And there are always new players entering the market who also need somewhere to hawk their wares.

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It is true that there probably won't be enough retailers for all of the locations, and the least attractive ones might sit empty for a while or be demolished. But with the likes of Scandinavian Designs, Big Lots, Ashley Homestores, and Ollie's Bargain Outlet bidding on locations in bankruptcy court, it does appear that most of these facilities will have healthier occupants for the foreseeable future amidst a booming economy. This is good news for the other retailers nearby, who surely don't want the stigma created by adjacent structures that become vacant and can't find tenants. Indeed, one debt-ridden, stagnant retailer's misfortune is resulting in benefits for many other healthier stores. It remains to be seen whether or not another large, toy-focused brand will emerge to fill the incredibly large void that Toys 'R' Us, a chain whose expansion long ago resulted in the closure of several smaller chains, has left behind. We shall see.


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