7 once dominant retailers that are now on the verge of bankruptcy

A woman walks by stoves in the appliance section at a Sears store in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Thomson Reuters

Seven major retailers have a high risk of going bankrupt within the next two years, according to a Fitch Ratings report.

The at-risk companies include: Sears Holdings, Claire’s Stores, True Religion Apparel, Nine West Holdings, Rue21, 99 Cents Only Stores, and Nebraska Book Company.

If and when those companies default, it’s likely they will be liquidated, according to the 114-page report.

Retailers are almost three times as likely to be liquidated after filing for bankruptcy than companies in other industries, according to the report.

For the report, Fitch Ratings analyzed 30 retail bankruptcies – half of which ended in liquidation.

In each case, researchers determined that the same pressures were weighing on business: declining shopper traffic to malls; the rise of e-commerce; shifts in consumer spending away from apparel and accessories and more toward experiences like dining out and entertainment; and the rise of pricing competition from discount chains like dollar stores and Walmart.

“Most of the retailers at high risk of default are challenged by declining mall traffic, competition from online and other types of retailers, and/or a lack of a compelling product line,” researchers wrote. “Highly leveraged capital structures may become unsustainable in the face of these challenges.”

Here’s a list of the high-yield bonds and loans “of concern” to Fitch Ratings:

Fitch Ratings