BankruptcyData just released Retail Industry Bankruptcy Review–a free report on U.S. Bankruptcy Court activity within the battered retail sector. As the industry continues to struggle, the number of retailers filing for bankruptcy keeps growing, and 2017 could end up with the highest number of retail bankruptcies ever. These numbers will most likely continue to rise as consumers make more purchases online for must-have items and shift discretionary spending income to other things like travel. Moody’s recently reported that the number of U.S. retailers with troubled financials, making them potential bankruptcy risks, was 22, topping the 19 recorded during the Great Recession.
In a research report released in April of this year, Credit Suisse said that the number of individual brick-and-mortar store closures in 2017 “could” top the record set in 2008, resulting in over 140 million square feet of retail vacancy. Sears, J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Ascena Retail, which owns Ann Taylor, Loft, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant, Justice and others, are on the list of retailers that have already announced hundreds of store closures in 2017. Few retail sectors have proven immune to the bankruptcy threat as clothes stores, consumer electronics, discount shoe-sellers and outdoor goods shops have all found themselves headed for reorganization.
The retail industry has always been competitive as reflected by the number of companies that filed bankruptcy multiple times and by the fact that 40% of large retail bankruptcies end up liquidating. The ongoing decline in sales and store traffic is just one more challenge for this battered sector, which is already dealing with liquidity issues, management challenges, weakened competitive positions, ailing credit ratings, exposure to unfavorable borrowing terms and highly promotional pricing that cuts into margins.
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