As consumer spending slows and the credit markets tighten, thousands of chain stores are closing around the country. To avoid bankruptcy, chains are closing stores. Foot Locker said it would close 140 stores over the next year, while Ann Taylor will close 117 and the jeweler Zales will close 100. Since autumn, eight chains have filed for bankruptcy protection, including the furniture store Levitz and the electronics seller Sharper Image. Linens ‘n Things, which has 500 stores in 47 states, could file for bankruptcy this week.