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ThinkGeo’s 2019 U.S. Retail Closings Map & How We Built It

We notice the empty storefronts on our commutes and weekends out and about.  The names and numbers continue to mount. Some marquee U.S. retail franchises are in the midst of a mass-scale disappearing act.  The retail business hit record revenues in 2018 so some may ask why the record high store closures?  Economists have pinned the blame on over extending and over expanding the realistic shopper base and in some cases over-inundating some major metropolitan areas with franchises. Another obvious trend is the takeover of online shopping and the convenience of pressing buttons at home versus roaming the wild for goods. In 2019 these details and “in-hindsight” observations no longer need to be missed by the experts; with ThinkGeo’s powerful Cloud and UI components, it’s easier than ever to create a map that helps you make the right decisions.

ThinkGeo’s mapping components are used in the retail world to analyze customer demographics and can render robust living maps that inform the creators of where and why trends are occurring.  We may not be the data analysts who can make the real time decisions and determine the best store locations for your franchises, but we definitely provide the tools used to empower the people who can!

Using the ThinkGeo Cloud’s high-performance, vector-based maps as a backdrop, we compiled several datasets and had our Cloud Geocoding API do all of the legwork to plot the location of every individual store closing.  After some quick custom styling we had the base for what we hope functions as an ever-evolving, living map of major retail closings moving forward. 

Map: U.S. Retail Store Closings 2019

U.S. Retail Store Closings 2019 by ThinkGeo0

To create this map, we first gathered and aggregated U.S. store closings from major retailers like Sears and Family Dollar, who have issued these as simple lists of addresses. We then used a process called geocoding to convert those addresses into geographic coordinates; ThinkGeo offers both a cloud-based geocoding API and an embeddable geocoding component for .NET that can process thousands of addresses in seconds.

With coordinates in hand, we then built an interactive map using the ThinkGeo Cloud Maps vector tile web services and our open-source VectorMap.js library for web browsers. The map itself reads upcoming store closings in GeoJSON format and plots them using the retail chain’s logo for easy visual identification. The result is a living, evolving visualization of store closings that can be built upon as new retailers inevitably announce planned new closures.

We’ve made the source code of our retail closings map available for review on CodePen.io, so you can build upon our foundation and add your own lists of retailers to the map.

Do you have addresses you’d like to visualize spatially with ThinkGeo’s geocoder? Want to put together an interactive map using the ThinkGeo Cloud? Start building with ThinkGeo today at absolutely no cost, and get full access to all of the ThinkGeo Cloud’s online map services and .NET software components free for 60 days. If you’ve got questions, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll be happy to answer them.

For details about the ThinkGeo geocoder’s capabilities, have a look at our geocoder performance guide.

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