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GNC could close up to 900 stores and slash its mall location count in half

Business Insider logo Business Insider 7/23/2019 Kate Taylor

Health and nutrition chain GNC is planning to close hundreds of stores as the retail apocalypse continues to rip through America.

On Monday, CEO Ken Martindale told investors that the company plans to close roughly 900 locations by the end of 2020. In 2018, GNC told investors that the company planned to close 700 to 900 locations over the following three years.

"As a result of the current mall traffic trends, it's likely that we will end up closer to the top end of our original optimization estimate of 700 to 900 store closures," Martindale said.

According to Martindale, mall traffic has decelerated and is not showing any sign of rebounding. While the company is looking at some strategies to bring in traffic, the biggest solution is going to be moving out of malls as leases run out.

Read more: Amazon is building a fulfillment center on the site of America's most infamous abandoned mall

"I think it could be likely that we'll reduce our mall count by a nearly half," Martindale said. "So we've got a little over 800 malls today and over the long-term, we could bring that closer to 400 to 500."

Currently, mall locations make up 28% of GNC's stores, the CEO said.

Retailers have announced more than 7,500 store closures so far this year, according to an analysis by Business Insider. Payless, Dress Barn, and Gymboree each announced plans to close hundreds of stores this year.

Related video: US retailers shutting down at faster rate this year than in 2018 (provided by Daily Press)

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