It’s been a difficult year for retailers, and things may get worse before they get better: The number of bankruptcy filings by retailers this year could outpace those filed in the wake of the Great Recession.
As of Sept. 29, nearly 30 retailers filed for bankruptcy, leading to almost 6,000 store closures, according to a biannual bankruptcy report from BDO International, a financial services firm. That’s on pace to beat 2010, when 48 retailers filed for bankruptcy.
But this year has already seen one unfortunate record broken: Approximately 10,226 store closures were announced from January to mid-August, surpassing the record 9,500 stores that closed throughout 2019, according to BDO’s report.
This year is also unusual because many of those store closures are unrelated to bankruptcies: More than 15 retailers that have not filed for bankruptcy — including Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and Gap — decided to shed at least 50 stores each, totalling more than 4,200 store closings.
In the pandemic-driven recession, apparel and footwear retailers have been among the hardest hit, with 10 bankruptcy filings accompanied by 2,368 store closings.
One notable example was Brooks Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy in July and is likely to be acquired by Authentic Brands Group and SPARC Group, according to media reports. Others include Neiman Marcus, which emerged from bankruptcy earlier this month, and J.C. Penney, which has been acquired by Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners.
Home furnishing retailers came in as the second-most affected, with five retailers filing for bankruptcy and 1,433 store closings.