- Bed Bath & Beyond, Party City, Neiman Marcus, and Brooks Brothers are among the many retail companies that have filed for bankruptcy over the past 15 years.
- Some retailers emerged from bankruptcy with smaller physical footprints, while others ended up liquidating.
- The pandemic and an explosion in online sales forced many of these companies to restructure.
Bed Bath & Beyond filed for bankruptcy on April 23, 2023. The home goods retailer had been limping along for months, closing hundreds of its namesake stores, exiting the Canadian market, winding down its Harmon health and beauty chain, and failing to raise the money it needed to continue operating.
It said in April 2023 that it would hold liquidation sales at its remaining 360 Bed Bath & Beyond stores and 120 Buybuy Baby locations.
Not even a post-pandemic wedding boom could save David's Bridal, which filed for bankruptcy for the second time in April 2023 after announcing plans to lay off 9,000 employees. The 73-year-old company, which has about 300 stores, said it would continue to fulfill orders as it looks for a buyer.
The off-price home goods store filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2023 and said it planned to close 265 US stores and reorganize. Less than three months later it announced that all 487 of its stores would close. The retailer had previously filed for bankruptcy in 2020 after it was forced to shutter stores at the start of the pandemic.
JCPenney's bankruptcy filing came in May 2020. In addition to dealing with pandemic closures, JCPenney, like many other department stores, had been hit by declining mall traffic. The stores also faced growing competition from off-price retailers, one analyst told Insider. Mall owners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management Inc. purchased the chain in September 2020.
The North Carolina-based department store chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2021. The company, majority-owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners, said it wanted to recapitalize and reduce its debt by $450 million. It emerged from bankruptcy a day later. The company has nearly 300 stores in the Southeastern US.
Off-price retailer Stein Mart filed for bankruptcy in August 2020. Liquidators announced the following day that all of Stein Mart's 279 stores would close.
Authentic Brands Group, whose portfolio includes names such as Aéropostale, Eddie Bauer, and Forever 21, acquired Brooks Brothers in September 2020, two months after the business-fashion retailer filed for bankruptcy. The pandemic, combined with a growing consumer preference for casual wear and for shopping online helped lead to Brooks Brothers' Chapter 11 filing, the New York Times reported.
Houston-based Tailored Brands, the owner of Men's Wearhouse, Jos. A Bank, and K&G Fashion Superstore, joined the ranks of apparel retailers decimated by the pandemic, and filed for bankruptcy in August 2020. It had already announced plans to shutter 500 stores. Tailored Brands emerged from bankruptcy in December of 2020 as a privately owned company.
The luxury retailer's CEO cited "inexorable pressure" from the pandemic in the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in May 2020. The company emerged from bankruptcy in September of that year. The retailer's restructuring plan wiped out $4 billion in debt and an additional $200 million of annual interest expenses, CNBC reported.
In May 2020, J. Crew became the first major retailer to go bankrupt during the pandemic. It also announced a deal with lenders to convert $1.65 billion in debt into equity. J.Crew left Chapter 11 in September 2020 with a hedge fund, Anchorage Capital Group, as its majority owner.
Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010 as it battled the growing popularity of Netflix, Redbox kiosks, and other video-on-demand services.
Borders had about 642 stores, including 100 Waldenbooks locations, when it filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2011. Within seven months, the bookstore chain had liquidated all its stores.
The electronics retailer HH Gregg filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2017 and failed to find a buyer for its business. The company announced in April 2017 that it would liquidate all its remaining stores.
Tru Kids Inc. and experiential retailer B8ta opened two new Toys R Us stores in 2019, but the stores had closed by early 2021. Later that year, Macy's announced plans to open Toys R Us shops in more than 400 stores.
RadioShack filed for bankruptcy (for the second time in two years) in 2017 and closed 1,000 stores. The electronics retailer later emerged from bankruptcy and opened dozens of "RadioShack Express" locations inside HobbyTown stores.
The women's clothing retailer The Limited filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2017 and shut down all 250 of its stores.
Sears filed for bankruptcy in October 2018 with about 700 Sears and Kmart stores. The company's former CEO, Eddie Lampert, purchased the company out of bankruptcy four months later through Transformco, a subsidiary of Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments.
The number of Sears stores had dwindled to just over a dozen by late 2022 and Kmart was down to just three. It once had 2,000 locations.
The company emerged from bankruptcy in January 2020 and continues to operate an e-commerce site in the US, as well as roughly 700 stores in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and parts of the Middle East.
Shopko filed for bankruptcy in January 2019 and said it would close 251 stores. The company said in March of that year that it had failed to find a buyer for its business and would liquidate its remaining 120 stores.
Forever 21 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2019 and said it expected to close 350 stores globally, including up to 178 locations in the US. In 2020, Authentic Brands Group, Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners bought Forever 21.
The retailer now has 540 locations, according to its website.
Destination Maternity filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2019, and said it planned to shutter 183 stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The company had previously closed 75 stores in 2019.