First, off, let me repeat my warning of a few posts ago: Send checks or cash instead of gift certificates this holiday season. Consumer Reports is saying the same thing. Stores that are in danger of going out of business are still selling gift certificates and cards, nearly all of which will be useless once the stores going out of business. You don’t want to give your loved ones a gift they won’t even be able to use.

Even if a store is fine, some big stores are closing some locations and if the only local branch of a store by you closes, it’s as good as it going out of business for all the good it does you.

Also, if someone does you wrong and gives you a gift certificate for the holidays, make sure you spend it ASAP.

If for some reason you must give a gift certificate, bank gift cards (those pre-paid debit cards that most banks offer these days) or gift certificates that can be used many places (for instance, my local mall sells gift certificates good at any store within the mall) are your best bet. If there is one thing that is certain in this current economy, it’s uncertainty so no matter how much of an institution a store may seem to you, chances are still good that it could go out of business at any time.

I have been looking everywhere for a list of stores that are on shaky ground, IE may close after the holidays. Rumors always precede the official notice of closure and I am hoping to give some people advanced warning of what stores might be closing.

Keep in mind that this list is not “official” in any way and some of these stores may be fine and may just be closing a few under-performing stores but I figure it should be a good starting point. I will try to update this throughout the holidays as I hear of more but if you know of another store closure or rumor, please feel free to add it in the comments below.

**Note: Somehow this email because a forward that people are sending around and I am getting angry email so I want to clarify. I compiled this list by searching the news archive for the last few months. Yes, I am aware that some of these stores are only closing a relatively small number of stores in comparison of how many stores they have worldwide. However, that said, that doesn’t change the fact that the point of this list was not only to list stores going out of business but also stores that are closing. If the company of JC Penny is completely fine and financially sound, that doesn’t help you if your only local store closes. This list is just supposed to be stores that you should take a moment and either look up to make sure that your local branch is going to stay open or at the least think before getting a gift certificate. I know some people are copy and pasting an old list with out of date info and spreading it around but don’t lump me in with them because that is not what this post is about. I don’t want to upset stores or their employees but I do want regular people to think about the store they are buying from before they buy a gift card. If you have a news article that directly contradicts the info below, please send it over and I will correct it. Jeez. I was trying to be nice!**

This list is alphabetical for ease of finding store names. I am also not going to list the exact number of stores closing because this info varies widely. The following is a list of all stores that have otherwise already announced that they are closing.

  • Ann Taylor: some stores nationwide closing
  • B. Moss: to close some stores
  • Bombay: closing all stores
  • Catherine’s: closing some stores nationwide
  • Cache: closing all stores
  • The Charming Shoppes: closing some stores
  • Circuit City: filed Chapter 11, closing all stores
  • CompUSA: closing nearly all stores (bought by Gordon Brother Group)
  • Dillard’s: closing some stores
  • The Disney Store: closing some stores before the holidays and will close more after January
  • Eddie Bauer: closing some stores before the holidays and will close more after January
  • Ethan Allen: closing some stores
  • Fashion Bug: closing some stores
  • Foot Locker: closing some stores before the holidays, more to close after January
  • GAP: closing some stores
  • Hollywood Video: closing some stores
  • Home Depot: closing some stores (one of which is the one in New Brunswick, NJ by me)
  • J. Jill: closing some stores
  • JC Penney: closing some stores after January
  • K B Toys: closing some stores (Why do I feel like we heard about them going out of business years ago? -H)
  • Lane Bryant: closing some stores nationwide
  • Levitz: closing all stores
  • Linens and Things: closing all stores
  • Lowes: closing some stores
  • Macy’s: to close some stores after January
  • Movie Gallery: closing some stores
  • La-Z-Boy: closing some stores
  • Office Depot: closing some stores
  • Pacific Sunwear: closing some stores
  • Pep Boys: closing some stores
  • Piercing Pagoda: closing all stores
  • Sak’s Bridal Shops: closing all but two stores
  • Sharper Image: closing all stores
  • Sprint/Nextel: closing some stores
  • Steve and Barry’s: closing some stores
  • Talbot’s is closing down some specialty stores including Pacific Sunwear and J. Jill
  • Whitehall Jewelers: closing all stores
  • Wickes Furniture: closing down all stores
  • Wilson Leather: closing down all stores
  • Zales: closing down some stores now and more after January