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.
The retailer confirmed the news in a Facebook post, stating: “It’s true — we are closing some stores. It was a difficult but necessary decision. We still have hundreds of locations across the country, and our website rue21.com, open for business.”
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.