BUST: Christmas Tree Shops Declares Bankruptcy and Closes All Stores

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We hope the Grinch doesn’t steal Christmas this year, but bankruptcy stole the 82 retail stores of MULO (multi-location) brand, Christmas Tree Shops.

The bankruptcy was announced in May, and poor-performing stores were shuttered, but the company recently said that it will close its remaining stores on August 12th, holding a liquidation sale before then.

Although holiday spending volume in 2022 was up 7%,  consumer shopping at Christmas Tree Shops was not significant enough to close the huge performance gap suffered by CTS (which rebranded last year).

CTS was owned at one point (2003) by Bed, Bath & Beyond but was then sold about seven years later,

The original store was a mom-and-pop business, founded by a husband and wife in Massachusetts in 1970, selling penny candy and seasonal goods. It scaled to a MULO big-box store over the next five decades, and its product line expanded beyond Christmas items to a wide range of household products (which was the rationale for the rebrand).

But a new name clearly was not enough to keep the lights on for the holidays. The failure may be due to:

  • Consumer shopping shifts. Holiday products and home goods are now available from various online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
  • High rent and product costs, both critical to sustaining a large footprint MULO business.

As of this writing, coupons will not be honored by other retailers (as they were when Bed Bath & Beyond closed its doors).

Sadly, as of this writing, about 2,400 retail stores have closed in 2023. But new retail concepts (BOOMs) continue to arise.


Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in Inc.com, the New York Times and Forbes.