Friday, April 14, 2017

Last Call For The Last Mall

Trump's world chaos isn't exactly helping the retail industry, with many consumers deciding that buying new stuff in the Trump era isn't exactly as important as it used to be when you've got a Republican party in charge that's looking to trash health care, the environment, and global politics.  As a result, retailers already operating under slim margins are going under at a rate unseen since the Bush-era days of the Great Recession.

Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at an alarming rate that's quickly approaching recessionary levels.

It's only April, and nine retailers have already filed for bankruptcy since the start of the year — as many as all of last year.

"2017 will be the year of retail bankruptcies," Corali Lopez-Castro, a bankruptcy lawyer, told Business Insider after she attended a recent distressed-investing conference in Palm Beach, Florida. "Retailers are running out of cash, and the dominoes are starting to fall."

Payless ShoeSource, hhgregg, The Limited, RadioShack, BCBG, Wet Seal, Gormans, Eastern Outfitters, and Gander Mountain are among the retailers that have filed for bankruptcy so far this year, and most are closing hundreds of stores as a result. On top of those closures, retailers that are staying in business — at least for now — are shutting down a record number of stores.

More than 3,500 stores are expected to close over the next several months.

Annual retail bankruptcies peaked at a total of 20 in 2008 — a level that the US could reach by September if the current rate of filings continues, according to CNBC.

During the recession, private equity firms and banks came to the rescue of some retailers and brought them out of bankruptcy through restructuring.

But there aren't many firms willing to rescue dying retailers these days, according to RBC Capital Markets.

"Private-equity firms [and] banks seem less willing now to step in to save these failing retailers as the issues this time around are more structural rather than quick operational fixes," RBC analysts wrote in a recent research note.

Given Trump's familiarity with bankruptcy filings, it's only right that America should expect to see a lot more of them. And as thousands of stores go away and tens of thousands lose their jobs, maybe America will realize that Trump and the GOP aren't the answer to any of their problems.

If there's a recession on top of everything else I expect to happen in the next few years, the GOP is going to get wiped out in 2018.  Unfortunately, that may go for our entire economy as well.

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