Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at a staggering rate — and these 17 companies could be the next to default

store closing

The fallout from the retail apocalypse is far from over.

Just two months into 2019, four retailers have already filed for bankruptcy, including Payless ShoeSource, Charlotte Russe, Gymboree, and FullBeauty Brands.

Ratings agencies are expecting more defaults in the coming months.

"As the US retail industry emerges from one of its worst multi-year default cycles yet, companies are getting ready for a second, though less virulent round among smaller, weaker names," analysts for Moody's Investors Service wrote in a February 21 report.


The report identified 17 retailers that have the highest risk of defaulting or filing for bankruptcy:

Richard W. Rodriguez/AP Images

PetSmart is the largest US pet retailer with more than 1,600 pet stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. In 2017, PetSmart purchased for $3.4 billion in what was the largest e-commerce acquisition at the time. Since then, the company has been struggling to pay down roughly $8 billion in debt amid growing competition online from Walmart, Amazon, Target, and others.


Facebook/Neiman Marcus

The luxury department-store chain Neiman Marcus has returned to positive sales growth after years of losses, but it's still grappling with nearly $5 billion in debt.


Facebook/Academy Sports & Outdoors

The sporting goods retailer Academy Sports & Outdoors, which has more than 240 locations, is struggling to compete against larger rivals like Amazon, Walmart, and Dick's Sporting Goods.

"Academy faces a challenging turnaround amid the highly competitive sporting goods environment," Moody's analyst Raya Sokolyanska wrote in a note in January. "In the near term, the company's good liquidity, with ample revolver availability and lack of debt maturities until 2022, provides key support to an otherwise weakening credit profile."


Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

J.Crew is saddled with $1.7 billion in debt and struggling to reverse years of sales declines by rebranding its stores. The company is also searching for a new CEO to replace Jim Brett, who resigned after just 17 months in the position.



Guitar Center is remodeling its stores in an effort to revive sales after refinancing hundreds of millions of dollars in debt last year.

The company's CEO, Ron Japinga, told Rolling Stone in November that the company was "going sideways" for several years.

"It didnt have a vision in what it we wanted to do," Japinga said. The company has since refocused its mission around helping people make music and has "really started to turn the corner," he said.


Natalie Maynor

The Fresh Market operates 161 stores across 22 states in the US. The company has been under pressure from a competitive pricing environment and a growing number of organic offerings from traditional grocers, such as Kroger and Walmart.



Evergreen AcqCo 1 LP operates the the thrift-store chains Value Village and Savers, which purchases donated clothing, accessories, and household goods and resells them at more than 300 locations in the US, Canada, and Australia. The company says it keeps more than 700 million pounds of used goods from landfills each year and employs 22,000 people.



Moran Foods operates the discount grocery chain Save-A-Lot, which has more than 1,300 stores in 36 states, according to the company's website. The company was acquired by Canadian private-equity firm Onex Corporation in 2016.

Facbook/99 Cents Only

99 Cents Only is a discount chain with a primary price point of around $1. It operates 389 locations in California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.



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


Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Fairway Group operates the supermarket chain Fairway Markets, which has 15 stores and four wine shops in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey.

The company is facing fierce competition from Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and others, according to analysts.

"Without the capital to effectively conduct promotional and marketing activities in a highly competitive market, Fairway's top-line growth will prove elusive, and cash flows, liquidity and profitability will remain strained," Moodys analyst Mickey Chadha wrote in a note in November.


The company's CEO, Abel Porter, told Bloomberg in November that Fairway has the cash to compete.

"We've moved dramatically quickly to be able to compete," Porter told Bloomberg. "We're not burning cash, we're accumulating cash."

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler


David's Bridal emerged from bankruptcy in January after shrinking its debt load by about $450 million in the restructuring process.

The company has been suffering from falling sales as a growing number of brides opt for casual wedding dresses over traditional gowns .

Facebook/Toms Shoes


The footwear seller Toms Shoes has been struggling to pay down debt five years after scoring a $313 million investment from the private-equity firm Bain Capital.

Shoes For Crews

SHO Holding I Corporation is a holding company that designs and manufactures non-slip footwear under the brand Shoes For Crews.



Indra Holdings is the parent company of the Totes and Isotoner brands, which sell umbrellas, footwear, gloves, and other cold weather accessories. Like many other specialty apparel and accessory retailers, it has suffered from growing competition from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and others.


REUTERS/Molly Riley

Pier 1 is trying to execute a turnaround with a new CEO, but analysts are skeptical that the home-goods retailer can make a comeback.

Moody's in December downgraded its outlook on the company to negative, saying Pier 1's recovery will be "dampened by execution issues" and profit pressure from growing competition and tariffs on China home furnishings imports.

"We expect overall liquidity to be adequate in the next 12-18 months, supported by the large revolver and lack of near-term maturities, however liquidity will weaken over time if earnings do not recover,"Moody's analyst Raya Sokolyanska wrote.



Beverages and More, which operates under the banner BevMo!, sells beer, wine, and liquor online and in stores in California, Washington, and Arizona.

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