RETAIL STORES: Suncoast among those hit hard by store closures

RETAIL STORES: Suncoast among those hit hard by store closures
(Source: Chuck Burton)

SARASOTA (WWSB) - In a global world where people can purchase clothes, shoes and even an entire interior design for your home online, social media users are wondering why the decline in retail stores are happening at an alarming rate.

When a retail store closes on the Suncoast it affects the community, including its economics and the stability of living for people without a job. Consumers, including 56% of Gen Xers and 67% of Millennials, prefer to shop online rather than in-store, according to OmniChannel Marketing. Some people are calling the retail closings a “Retail Apocalypse."

Here are the major stores already affected:


J.C. Penney

Victoria’s Secret



  • Gymboree is closing all 900 stores it operates under the Gymboree, Janie and Jack and Crazy 8 brands in the United States and Canada. The retailer still hopes to sell its high-end Janie and Jack brand, which would save about 140 stores.


Ann Taylor (Ascena Retail)

Family Dollar

ABC7′s Jackie Kelly covered why the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall has seen a number of store closures.

USF-SM Economics Professor, Michael Snipes, said the mall’s location could be to blame. He went on to say that many malls across the country are being impacted by online shopping.

“Anywhere between 20- and 33-percent of all malls that are open now are expected to close in the next five years and there’s a number of reasons for that. It could be you know leases just start to come up, but a lot of it is going to be due to just a change in demand. You know a lot of people are buying a lot more things online because of convenience, because of cost considerations,” said Snipes.

The DeSoto Square Mall is a 678,000 square-foot mall and since opening its doors in 1973 it has had at least four owners. Back in 2017, the mall was sold for $25 million to Meyer Lebovitz.

At that time, the new owner said he would focus on redeveloping the mall by adding more stores and free-standing restaurants. The redevelopment never happened and one of the main anchor stores, Sears, closed.

If you know anyone affected by the retail store closures, contact us.

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