- Moody’sInvestors Service identified 17 retailers with the highest risk of defaulting or filing for bankruptcy protection.
- The list includes PetSmart,Neiman Marcus, and J.Crew.
- Two months into 2019, four retailers have already filed for bankruptcy protection: Payless ShoeSource, Charlotte Russe, Gymboree, and FullBeauty Brands.
The fallout from the retail apocalypse is far from over.
Two months into 2019, four retailers have already filed for bankruptcy protection: 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 report on Thursday.
The report identified 17 retailers with the highest risk of defaulting or filing for bankruptcy protection:
In 2017, PetSmart – the largest US pet retailer, with more than 1,600 pet stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico – purchased Chewy.com for $US3.4 billion in what was the largest e-commerce acquisition at the time. Since then, the company has been struggling to pay down roughly $US8 billion in debt amid growing competition online from Walmart, Amazon, Target, and others.
Neiman Marcus Group
The luxury department-store chain Neiman Marcus has reported five consecutive quarters of positive sales growth after years of losses, but it’s still grappling with nearly $US5 billion in debt.
The sporting-goods retailer Academy Sports & Outdoors, which has more than 240 locations, is struggling to compete with larger rivals like Amazon, Walmart, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
“Academy faces a challenging turnaround amid the highly competitive sporting goods environment,” the 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.”
J.Crew is saddled with $US1.7 billion in debt and struggling to reverse years of sales declines by rebranding its stores. The company is also searching for a CEO to replace Jim Brett, who in November resigned after 17 months in the position.
Guitar Center Holdings
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 had been “going sideways” for several years.
“It didn’t have a vision in what it – we – wanted to do,” Japinga said, adding that the company had since refocused its mission to help people make music and had “really started to turn the corner.”
The Fresh Market
The Fresh Market, which operates 161 stores across 22 US states, has been under pressure from a competitive pricing environment and an increasing number of organic offerings from traditional grocers, such as Kroger and Walmart.
Evergreen AcqCo 1 LP operates 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 prevents more than 700 million pounds of used goods from going to landfills annually 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. It was acquired by Onex Corporation, a Canadian private-equity firm, in 2016.
99 Cents Only Stores
The discount chain, with a primary price point of about $US1, 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 Gettington.
Fairway Group Holdings Corp.
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,” the Moody’s analyst Mickey Chadha wrote in a note in November.
The company’s CEO, Abel Porter, told Bloomberg in November that Fairway had the cash to compete.
“We’ve moved dramatically quickly to be able to compete,” Porter said. “We’re not burning cash; we’re accumulating cash.”
David’s Bridal emerged from bankruptcy in January after shrinking its debt load by about $US450 million in the restructuring process.
The company has seen falling sales as brides increasingly opt for casual wedding dresses over traditional gowns.
The footwear seller Toms Shoes has been struggling to pay down debt five years after scoring a $US313 million investment from the private-equity firm Bain Capital.
SHO Holding I Corp.
The company designs and manufactures nonslip footwear under the brand Shoes For Crews.
Indra Holdings Corp.
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’s facing growing competition from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and others.
Pier 1 Imports
Pier 1 is trying to execute a turnaround with a new CEO, but analysts are sceptical 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 would be “dampened by execution issues” and profit pressure from growing competition and tariffs on Chinese 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,” Sokolyanska wrote.
BevMo, originally Beverages & More, sells beer, wine, and liquor online and in stores in California, Washington, and Arizona.
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