National Shoe Store Chain Closing 400 Locations

By Dave Basner

December 11, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

This year has been pretty rough for some national chains, with Bed, Bath & Beyond, Tuesday Morning and Christmas Tree Shops all declaring bankruptcy and closing their locations, but the current economic crisis hasn't just affected home goods stores. Restaurant chains like Pizza Hut and Boston Market, and pharmacy chains like CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens, have also been shuttering stores due to financial woes, and one of the nation's biggest footwear chains is following suit. Foot Locker is in the process of closing 400 locations that are underperforming.

The popular shoe retailer plans to close 275 locations across the country by 2026. Meanwhile, they've been in the process of shutting down 125 locations of Champs Sports, which they also own. In a call to analysts, company executives described the strategy as a "reset" in response to their total sales forecast for this year being lower than last year.

The store closures will see Foot Locker reduce their global store count by 10% so that in 2026, they will have 2,400 locations, but they still do plan to grow. Senior Vice President of Store Development Anthony Aversa stated, "We will increase our square footage by 10% to over 14.5 million square feet as we open up larger, more experiential expressions of our brands with a wider product assortment. New formats will surpass 400 locations."

The chain also plans to introduce more "experiential" store concepts that they hope makes them more relevant to younger shoppers. Among the new strategies is one called the "Lace Up," which focuses on categories of different types of sneaker shoppers that the company conceived. Among those groups are "sneaker mavens," who represent themselves through their shoes, "fashion-forward expressionists," who want their sneakers to make them look and feel cool, "athletes," who are seeking high-performance sneakers, then there are shoppers who want quality and comfort in their shoes, and deal hunters.

As for which Foot Locker stores will be closing, that isn't yet known, but 200 of them will be in smaller regional malls and 200 will be in larger but lower-performing malls.

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