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Claire's filed for bankruptcy on March 19. Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty.

Amid a retail bloodbath last year and the first two months of 2018, the U.S. still has far too many shops, and their numbers need to shrink — 1 out of 5 need to close to reach the historical average, according to Costar, a research firm.

By the numbers: Ryan McCullough, senior real estate economist with Costar, said the U.S. has 18% too much retail space when compared with the historical average.

  • To return to where they should be, U.S. retailers would need to maintain current sales, but close almost 1.6 billion square feet of selling space.
  • "We aren’t predicting that is going to happen, but it does explain why closures are so prevalent today!" McCullough said in an email exchange.
  • In fact, Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate brokerage firm, is forecasting that 12,000 stores will close in the U.S. this year, up 33% from the 9,000 that were shuttered in 2017.

Looking at the trend: David Berliner, a partner with BDO, tells Axios that shopping today requires fewer stores, and that may be a healthy thing for retailers. Prior to Amazonization, the formula for retail sales growth was to build more stores, he said. Now, retailers can grow using a combination of on-line and physical shopping — what the industry calls "omni-channel."

  • "You just need a few stores for returns and to show merchandise," Berliner said.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Pfizer coronavirus vaccine safe, effective in children, company says

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11, albeit at a lower dose than adults receive, the companies said in a press release announcing results from a pediatric trial.

Why it matters: The trial results are a much-needed source of hope for families with elementary school-aged children, who currently aren't eligible for a vaccine.

The pandemic made our workweeks longer

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The average American's workweek has gotten 10% longer during the pandemic, according to a new Microsoft study published in Nature Human Behaviour.

Why it matters: These longer hours are a key part of the pandemic-induced crisis of burnout at U.S. firms — and workers are quitting in droves.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to herald "travel revolution"

Expand chart
Data: TSA. Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky will argue this week that the world is undergoing a "travel revolution," in which some parts of the industry stay shrunk but the sector ultimately comes back "bigger than ever."

Why it matters: Chesky, who faced the abyss when the world shut down last year, foresees a significant shift in how people move around, with more intentional gatherings of family, friends and colleagues — even if routine business travel is never what it once was.