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April 16th, 2018 at 11:26 am

Retail bankruptcies just hit an all-time high — and these 18 companies could be the next to default

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Retail bankruptcies hit an all-time high in the first quarter of the year, according to Moody’s Investors Service.

Sears, J.Crew, and Neiman Marcus are among the companies that could be next to default, according to S&P Global Ratings.

The fallout is far from over, however, with many more defaults expected for the remainder of 2018.

“We believe defaults in 2018 could match or exceed last year’s record level,” S&P Global Ratings analyst Robert Shulz wrote in a report that identified 20 retailers at risk of defaulting. Since publishing the report last month, two of the companies identified — the jewelry retailer Claire’s and grocery chain Bi-Lo— have filed for bankruptcy.

The pace of retail liquidations could also pick up this year, Shulz wrote.

“Despite store closures amid the turmoil, the US remains significantly oversaturated with retail stores,” he wrote. “Some retailers have made progress towards better aligning their physical footprint to the new reality of physical versus virtual sales, but there is still excess capacity.”

Toys R Us recently began liquidating its US business. The company has shut down its Toys R Us and Babies R Us websites, and it’s now holding going-out-of-business sales at its more than 700 US stores.

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Sears, J.Crew, and Neiman Marcus are among the companies that could be next to default, according to S&P Global Markets.

Here’s the full list of the most at-risk retailers, according to S&P Global Ratings:

99 Cents Only Stores LLC

99 Cents Only is a discount chain with a primary price point of around $1. It has more than 350 locations in California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.

Bluestem Brands

Bluestem Brands owns 13 e-commerce sites including Appleseed’s, Bedford Fair, Fingerhut, Draper’s & Damon’s, Blair, and Gettington.com.

Everest Holdings

Everest Holdings LLC operates debt-laden Eddie Bauer, which has more than 300 stores in the US and Canada.

FullBeauty Brands Holdings Corp

FullBeauty owns a handful of clothing brands for plus-size men and women including fullbeauty.com, Woman Within, Roaman’s, Jessica London, ellos, KingSize, and Brylane Home.

J.Crew Group, Inc.

J.Crew has been closing stores following years of plunging sales.

The company recently axed its bridal business and parted ways with its longtime CEO Mickey Drexler, as well as its creative director Jenna Lyons.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Drexler said the retailer’s biggest mistake over the last several years is that it jacked up its prices at a time when customers were increasingly cost-conscious.

New Academy Holding Co. LLC

New Academy is the indirect parent company of the discount chain Academy Sports & Outdoors, which has more than 240 locations.

PetSmart Inc.

PetSmart has more than 1,500 pet stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Steak ‘n Shake Inc.

The 84-year-old fast-food chain Steak ‘n Shake has more than 500 locations, primarily in the Midwest and South US.

SSH Holdings

SSH Holdings operates the mall-based Spencer’s and Spirit stores.

David’s Bridal, Inc.

David’s Bridal is suffering from falling sales as a growing number of brides opt for casual wedding dresses over traditional gowns.

Neiman Marcus Group

The department-store chain Neiman Marcus is struggling with a $5 billion debt load after two leveraged buyouts.

Evergreen AcqCo 1 LP

Evergreen AcqCo 1 LP operates the the thrift-store chains Value Village and Savers, which sell used clothing, accessories, and household goods online and in stores.

HT Intermediate Holdings Corp.

HT Intermediate Holdings Corp. is the indirect parent company of the mall-based chain Hot Topic.

Payless

Payless filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year and emerged just four months later after a successful reorganization. But the chain, which has about 3,500 stores, is still in danger of defaulting, according to S&P Capital Markets.

BKH Acquisition Corp.

BKH Acquisition Corp. operates more than 100 Burger King restaurants in Puerto Rico through its subsidiary, Caribbean Restaurants.

The Fresh Market

The Fresh Market has 176 grocery stores in 24 states across the US. The supermarket chain cut prices last year in an attempt to drive shopper traffic to its stores, but its efforts reportedly failed.

Guitar Center

The music-store chain Guitar Center has suffered in part from an industry-wide dropoff in electric guitar sales.

Electric guitar sales have declined from 1.5 million sold annually to about one million in the last decade, according to the Washington Post.

Sears Holdings

Sears, which also owns Kmart, has been selling off brands and real estate to stay afloat amid years of falling sales. The company’s sales have dropped from $53 billion in 2006 to $16.7 billion in 2017.

Via Business Insider 

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