Retail bankruptcies in August: Here’s who filed and who could be next

Compare that to July, when several well-known mall brands, including Sur La Table, Ascena Retail Group and Brooks Brothers, have filed for bankruptcy protection. Despite the slowdown in bankruptcies, the month of August remains a bloodbath: several hundred stores close and thousands of employees lose their jobs.
The carnage doesn’t seem to be over, especially with the possibility of consumer spending hit a wall due to the lack of another $1,200 stimulus check. Consumer confidence too fell for the second consecutive month in August to its lowest level in six years as Americans worry about the fragility of the economic recovery and an uncertain job market.
The country’s first department store filed for chapter 11 August 2. Lord & Taylor initially announced the closure of 19 locations, then added 5 more to the list about two weeks later. Then, a week later, announced the liquidation of all of its 38 storesa remarkable drop for the nearly 200-year-old retailer.
The company was once a mainstay in high-end fashion. Acquisition of the Hudson’s Bay Company Lord & Taylor in 2012 before selling it in 2019 to Le Tote, Inc., a fashion rental subscription service, for $75 million.

Tailor-made brands

A Men's Wearhouse store in Chicago, Illinois.
The owner of Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank went bankrupt on August 3, another sign that the pandemic has wiped out demand for office wear.Tailor-made brands (TLRD)which also owns Moores Clothing for Men and K&G Fashion Superstore, said it would continue to serve customers through the restructuring process.
The news didn’t really come as a surprise: Tailored Brands said in june that it could join the growing list of retail bankruptcies. A few weeks later, the company said it had identified 500 stores to close and announced layoffs of 20% of its corporate positions. The company has about 1,500 stores in the United States, about half of which operate under the Men’s Wearhouse name.


A Stein Mart in South Carolina.
The discount retailer filed for bankruptcy on August 12 and closing all of its nearly 300 stores in the coming months. The 112-year-old company blamed its failure on changing consumer habits and the pandemic, which “both caused significant financial hardship for our business,” Stein Mart said at the time.

Stein Mart warned in June that Covid-19 was causing the company financial hardship, revealing in a regulatory filing that the company had “substantial doubt” it would continue to operate into next year.

The company is also considering strategic alternatives, including the sale of its website and intellectual property. Pier 1 Imports recently did the same and sold its website and intellectual property to an investment company.

Who’s next?

J.Jill, (Jill) Destination XL (DXLG) and Christopher & Banks (CCBC) are publicly traded retailers vulnerable to bankruptcy due to the growing likelihood that they could default.

That’s according to a recent report from S&P Global Market Intelligence, which has recorded 44 retail bankruptcies this year. The number of bankruptcies this year dwarfs the “total for the year 2019 and rivals the 45 filings recorded for all of 2011”, the company said.

Individual retailers aren’t the only ones at risk. The same goes for shopping center owners. CBL Properties (CBL) warned he could file for Chapter 11 by Oct. 1 due to uncollected rent, declining customer traffic and mounting debt. A planned settlement with his creditors would eliminate $900 million of his debt and help him avoid the filing.

CBL said in an Aug. 19 statement that it has approximately $220 million in cash on hand, which “should be sufficient to meet CBL’s operational and restructuring needs.” The company owns 90 shopping centers, primarily in the Southeast and Midwest United States.


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