The number of retailers that have thrown in the towel through early April 2017, falls just short of the total number of stores that folded throughout all of 2016. And the number of bankruptcies is likely to increase—potentially threatening businesses in related industries as a result.
Through April 6, 14 retailers have filed for bankruptcy compared to 18 for the year in 2016, including Payless, Gordmans, BCBG, Wet Seal and The Limited. Of that total, 10 are based in the U.S.
“Retail’s troubles are manifold, and the diagnosis is different in each struggling company’s case, but it is widely agreed that the U.S. is over-stored and that the solution for flat declining in-store sales resides to a significant degree online, where the most sales growth is now taking place,” according to an article by S&P Global Market Intelligence, entitled “The ‘retail collapse’ and how to dig out of it.”
Additionally, the piece says the shift online has placed downward pressure on pricing, creating a nation of price shoppers, willing to hop from site to site in search of a deal.
S&P’s applied its statistical model to determine which retailers had a significant to high leveraged credit risk for default in the next one to five years. Of the 10 U.S.-based public companies on the list, Sears was perched precariously at the top.
Sears Holding Corporation, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, has a 23.84% probability of defaulting in the next year, earning it the equivalent of a CCC credit rating.
Of the list of 10, once again, apparel retailers are disproportionately represented.
The full list includes:
|Retailer||1-year probability of default|
|Appliance Recycling Centers of America||11.96%|
|The Bon-Ton Stores||10.48%|
|Destination XL Group||8.08%|
|Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores||6.11%|
The bigger worry, according to S&P the likelihood that these flailing retailers will drag other industries down with them, including mall owners, commercial real estate developers and suppliers. And the bigger the chain, the bigger the risk.