GNC plans to close 700 to 900 stores, mostly in malls

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(Gray News) - As a result of slowing foot traffic in malls, health and nutrition chain GNC is targeting hundreds of its stores for closure by the end of 2020.

GNC stores are targeting underperforming stores, citing decreasing mall foot traffic. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Chairman and CEO Ken Martindale said 700 to 900 low-performing locations could close as a result of ongoing streamlining, he revealed during a quarter 2 earnings call on Tuesday.

He said, “the negative trends in traffic that we’ve seen in mall stores over the past several years has accelerated during the past few quarters."

Martindale noted that the GNC portfolio includes a number of stores with short-term leases, and “store optimization" efforts are ongoing.

Roughly 28% percent of GNC stores are located within malls, with the other 61% in strip centers.

GNC said its U.S. and Canada earnings decreased $41.2 million, or 8%, to $476.1 million in quarter 2, compared to the second quarter of 2018.

“During the second quarter of 2019, although we experienced some softness in our sales, we delivered meaningful growth in our operating income margins consistent with our long-term strategy,” Martindale said.

GNC has 8,020 locations, including store-within-a-store partnerships with other retailers.

Brick and mortar retailers have been facing difficulties competing with online behemoths such as Amazon.

Some retailers have gone out of business this year, including Gymboree, Dressbarn and Charlotte Russe, CNN reported.

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