More bad news for malls nationwide: teen retailer Rue21 is shutting down approximately 400 stores in an effort to focus on its online business, according to the Associated Press. The closing represent one-third of the retailer’s brick-and-mortar operations, leaving approximately 700 stores and its e-Commerce site in operation.
No information about when these stores will shutter has been disclosed, but Rue21.com is already promoting store-closing sales.
Like other mall retailers, Rue21 has been struggling with declining foot traffic. Rue21 joins retailers such as Wet Seal, which announced it will close all of its 170+ stores in early January 2017, and bebe, which — like Rue21 — closed all brick-and-mortar locations to focus on its e-Commerce business.
Can focusing on e-Commerce operations save mall-based retailers like bebe and Rue21? One thing is for sure, these brands will need to ensure they provide an exceptional online customer experience, so the pressure is on.