Since 2017, Retail Dive has tracked major bankruptcies in the U.S. retail industry. Over the years, we’ve chronicled the long decline of once-dominant chains like Sears, and the unexpected and swift demise of others, like Lord & Taylor.
Even in that short timeframe, some retailers have fallen victim to bankruptcy not once, but twice. In 2019 alone, both Gymboree and Payless filed for their second bankruptcies in two years. And in 2020, with many retailers facing shuttered stores and slow traffic, a record number of retailers — including many who had been teetering for years — filed.
Some retailers that enter bankruptcy leave most of their stores behind, opting for a more digital-focused approach, while others are bought out by landlords and continue to operate large footprints. Some brands disappear entirely, while others seem to resurrect again and again. After Toys R Us’ swift liquidation in 2018, for example, the iconic toy brand is now sold at Macy’s.
The state of bankruptcies says a lot about the health of the retail sector and the various categories it serves. Which retailers file in a given year provides clues about broader consumer trends and gives insight into the differences between retail’s winners and losers.
Retail Dive will continue to update this tracker with the latest major retail bankruptcies. These entries provide information on when major retailers filed, the reasons behind the filing and what their plans were at the time.