Allen Brown is a director at GRS | Title. He can be reached at (480) 428-5575 or via email at

Mass store-opening forecasts in the retail world look about the same in 2019 as they have over the last several years, with discount and convenience chains leading the way when it comes to new-store expansion, according to a list compiled by net-lease firm Stan Johnson Co.

On the store-closing end of the spectrum, it’s also like years past in that apparel and department stores are responsible for most of the doors being shut.

Two of the largest dollar-store chains, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, have the most announced openings, with 350 and 200 new units respectively. There are reportedly plenty more to come, with company officials planning to expand Dollar Tree from about 6,900 units to 10,000 and Family Dollar from just over 8,200 to 15,000.

Convenience stores are also on a growth path. Circle K has 87 new units planned, Murphy USA has between 60 and 70, Casey’s General Store has 60 on tap and Kwik Trip plans between 40 and 50. Operators in this retail sector expect sales growth fueled by more overall food and prepared-meal transactions.

There are store openings coming in other sectors as well. O’Reilly Auto Parts has 200 to 210 store openings planned for 2019 after record sales and earnings last year, while AutoZone has 150 planned . Crunch Fitness looks to open 80 gyms in 2019 from its current base of 270, with 500 commitments for new locations on the horizon. In the haircare sector, Great Clips continues its growth, with 175 to 200 new units, concentrating on the South and Southeast.

Apparel is once again going through a rough patch. Children’s clothier Gymboree filed for Chapter 11 at the beginning of the year, and plans to shut 798 locations. Charlotte Russe also filed for bankruptcy and will shut 94 stores. Ascena Retail Group, the owner of Ann Taylor, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant and others, plans to 250 units, or five percent of its store total.

Another ongoing issue is the Sears Holdings Corp. fallout. Adding to the hundreds of closings over the years will be just over 100 Sears units and 78 Kmarts.

Of course, the year is still relatively young, and there will be more news about store openings and closings as the months progress. We’ll keep you posted on any significant movement!

About GRS Group

GRS Group is a leading provider of commercial real estate (“CRE”) services worldwide. With offices across the United States, Europe, and affiliates around the globe, GRS Group provides local market knowledge with a global perspective for institutional real estate investors, occupiers and lenders worldwide. The GRS Group team has evaluated and advised on over $1 trillion in CRE transactions.

Through the company’s proprietary management process, Global Services Connection, GRS Group delivers an integrated suite of services including Financial Advisory, Transaction Management, Assessment and Title Insurance.  We provide a single point of contact, capable of leveraging the GRS Group portfolio of companies and delivering customized solutions to assist our clients in achieving their investment goals.