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Here Are the Retailers That are Expanding in 2021

Updated: Nov 11

While there have been many high-profile bankruptcies, some companies are adding new locations.


Written by: Crexi





Recently the apparel chain Francesca’s filed for bankruptcy and has plans to shutter some 150 stores. Last month it was Guitar Center and Furniture Factory Outlet that sought Chapter 11 protection.


It is little secret that the pandemic has been hard on the retail sector—but the news is not uniformly bad. For instance, Crexi has named 17 cities in which the retail market was strong, or even surging, in the third quarter, and where it recommends that investors buy properties.


Another sign of the sector’s relative health is the number of retailers that have expansion plans. This week, as one example, Starbucks announced that it plans to add 22,000 stores to its portfolio by 2030, for a total of 55,000. This will include a mix of new store formats, including Drive-Thru, Starbucks Pickup and curbside pickup, the company said.

There are many other retailers that have near-term plans for expansion in 2021. In Stan Johnson Co.’s newly-released Tenant Expansion Trends report, it tracked 184 tenants and the vast majority, 138, expect at least one new location to open soon. Fifty-nine tenants have meaningful expansion plans (10 or more locations planned), while 46 tenants with unknown or no expansion plans.


Here are some of those retailers.


7-Eleven leads the way with 6,300 planned openings. Its acquisition of Speedway gives it 3,900 additional stores. Its current store count is 14,000 stores, and it plans to expand to 20,000 stores.


Sonic Drive-In (tied for second in projected openings) aims to open 1,000 new restaurants over the next ten years and plans to launch a new restaurant concept called “Delight.” Burlington (tied for second) has long-term plans to open 1,000 stores, though it plans to reduce the average store’s footprint. It opened 38 locations in Fall 2020 and plans a total of 51 to 54 stores in 2021.


Dollar General (tied for second) also plans 1,000 openings. In the first half of 2020, it opened 500 new stores, and its plans call for 1,000 locations in FY 2020. Dollar Tree (fifth in openings) plans 500 openings in the second half of 2020. That includes 325 Dollar Tree and 175 Family Dollar locations.


Starbucks (sixth) plans 850 new openings in 2021. Over the past 12 months, it has had net growth of 288 stores, according to Stan Johnson.


The bank sector represents two of the next three companies on the list. Bank of America (seventh) plans to open 500 locations through 2022, targeting Cincinnati, Denver and Minneapolis. Chase (ninth) is slated for 400 openings by 2023 as it expands into 10 new states. It plans two new locations in St. Louis in Q4.


Aldi (eight) is next with 450 planned openings. It has 2,052 stores and wants to get to 2,500 by 2022. Home furnishings company At Home (ninth), which operates in 40 states, plans 400 stores and has ambitious long-term growth plans that call for at least 600 total stores.

Casey’s General Stores (tenth) plans to add 350 new stores by 2023. In October 2020, it will focus on rebranding and may drop “General Stores” from its name. In Q2 2020, it closed two stores in Q2 2020 and opened nine locations.


Automotive retailers are going through ambitious expansions. O’Reilly plans 180 stores after opening 123 in the first half of the year, putting it at 10th on the list. CarMax has resumed its expansion strategy with plans to open 8 to 10 locations in FY 2022. Jiffy Lube moved into Detroit, Mich., via acquisition in Aug 2020. It has opened five new locations in Arkansas, Illinois and Wisconsin. It is set to build six additional sites across four Midwest states in early 2021.


Old Navy planned to open 75 stores annually, but it scaled back to 30 to 40 news stores. Between February and August 2020, it opened 14 stores and closed eight stores. Ross opened 39 stores in Q3 2020. Long-term growth is planned but unspecified.

Home improvement and furnishings have flourished through the pandemic. So it’s not surprising that 84 Lumber plans new stores to open in California, Idaho and Michigan in 2021.


Freddy’s Frozen Custard has opened 18 new restaurants through Aug. 2020 and has plans for at least nine new locations opening soon in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee. It has franchise opportunities across 49 states and recently signed an agreement to bring 50 new restaurants to Florida in the coming years.


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