These Retailers Can’t Attract Customers and Might Soon Close Forever

Amazon has changed shopping forever, making it easier to get what we need. The consequences? Iconic brands and retailers can’t keep up. They must adapt in order to survive. Can they do it? The future of the following chains doesn’t look good. One specialty retailer, in particular, is barely hanging on (page 9).

1. BI-LO

Super Bi-Lo
BI-LO is very high risk when it comes to credit. | Amstefan/Wikimedia Commons

The outlook for this grocer isn’t positive. According to a report by USA Today, Moody’s rates BI-LO’s credit standing as Caa-1, or very high risk. It’s not looking good for the company that also owns Winn-Dixie. It apparently has $1 billion in debt it has to deal with before it can get back on track, which is why it’s definitely in the danger zone.

Next: Customers should start playing a sad song for this retailer.

2. Guitar Center

Vintage Guitars
Guitar Center is in over $1 billion worth of debt. | Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images

Considering Guitar Center caters to a select base of customers, it shouldn’t be a shock to learn it’s in trouble. With more than $1 billion in debt and no clear way into the black, Moody’s gives it one of its worst credit ratings, which is another downgrade in its standing.

Next: Amazon is partly to blame for this next one.

3. Fresh Market

Fresh Market grocery store
Amazon boosted Whole Foods’ accessibility, which hurt Fresh Market. | YROGERG77/Wikimedia Commons

Another struggling grocer, Fresh Market carries the same poor credit rating as BI-LO. It keeps closing stores in an effort to stay profitable, but it doesn’t seem to be helping. This one can partially be blamed on the Amazon effect. Fresh Market specializes in organic and local produce. After Amazon acquired Whole Foods and slashed prices, it made life tough on Fresh Market stores. Unfortunately for Fresh Market fans, Bloomberg reports it won’t be getting any better.

Next: Specialized footwear isn’t what it used to be.

4. Shoes For Crews

Shoes for Crews
The work shoe company is struggling. | Shoes For Crews via Facebook

SHO Holding I Corporation, the private corporation that owns several apparel brands, including Shoes For Crews, might have to go public to save its future. With $280 million in debt and weaker than expected performance, the long-term outlook is grim. Moody’s downgraded its credit rating to be one of the lowest it gives.

Next: Maybe food isn’t as popular as it used to be.

5. Tops Markets

Tops friendly market
Its debts are due soon. | Buffaboy/Wikimedia Commons

The company that owns Tops Markets in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont might not be long for this world. The private company protects its financial information, but the Tops Markets website shows it has debts due in 2021 and 2022. Despite increased sales and profit, Tops showed decreased profit margins and operating income early in 2017. In the world of grocery retailers, that’s not a good sign.

Next: This company has to lace up the boots and get to work.

6. Cole Haan

Cole Haan
Cole Haan wasn’t able to bump up its credit rating. | Cole Haan via Facebook

Footwear company Cole Haan is stable, according to Moody’s, but it is still on dangerous footing (see what we did there?). A strong 2017, with nearly $600 million in revenue, wasn’t enough to upgrade the company’s credit rating with Moody’s. The strong earnings are a good first step, but the company needs sustained success to find its footing (OK, we’ll stop now).

Next: Where have we heard this one before?

7. Fairway Market

Fairway market
Fairway Market is concentrated in New York City. | Nightscream/Wikimedia Commons

If you haven’t picked up on the trend yet, small, regional grocery chains are in trouble. If a grocery store concentrated in the heavily populated New York City metro area can’t make it, then you know it’s bad. Before naming a new CEO early in 2017, the company already racked up $267 million in debt. Moody’s doesn’t pull any punches on its reasoning for its negative outlook about Fairway, writing, “Fairway’s small scale, geographic concentration, very weak credit metrics” contribute to the Caa2 rating.

Next: Bad times for another footwear company.

8. TOMS Shoes

TOMS shoes
People just aren’t feeling as charitable. | Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Amazon

For every pair of shoes TOMS sells, it gives shoes, glasses, and water to those in need. It’s all part of the retailer’s One for One philanthropy. It’s a noble idea, but the bottom line is suffering. The company received $18 million in cash late in 2017, but with close to $300 million in debt due in 2020, according to Moody’s, it’s going to take some monstrous retail success to get back on track.

Next: This specialty retailer is on the brink of collapse.

9. GNC

GNC store
It’s been steadily declining. | Raysonho/Open Grid Scheduler/Grid Engine/Wikimedia Commons

Some of the supplements GNC sells can help you bulk up. Unfortunately, those protein shakes aren’t inflating the company’s bottom line. Its stock value has seen a steady decline, and revenue, sales, and earnings per share were all down considerably early in 2017. Scares about tainted supplements don’t help either. With no obvious way out of the rut, GNC is one retailer in danger of closing forever.

Next: The cash on hand won’t carry this clothier very far.

10. Vince

Vince clothing
Vince is still down $1 million in revenue. | Vince via Facebook

On the surface, the last financial report for fashion retailer Vince looked good. Sales increased overall and direct to consumer sales were way up. But income was down by nearly $1 million and it had just $5.7 million in cash on hand against $68.1 million in debt. Most of that debt, more than $45 million, is due in 2019, which is why Moody’s says Vince’s future is looking grim.

Next: It’s fitting this company specializes in rainy day gear.

11. Totes Isotoner

Isotoner slippers
Indra Holdings is in quite a bit of debt. | Isotoner via Facebook

You probably haven’t heard of Indra Holdings, but you probably know its brands, such as Totes and Isotoner. They specialize in boots, gloves, and other rainy day gear. If you’re a fan of those brands, you might want to get your shopping in now. A recent $20 million cash infusion is hardly a drop in the bucket compared to the $232 million in outstanding debt. Now a huge credit risk, it is one of the most troubled retailers out there.

Next: This company is stable for now, but the future is uncertain.

12. Bluestem Brands

Old Pueblo Traders
The company’s credit was still relatively stable. | Old Pueblo Traders via Facebook

Bluestem Brands is the holding company that counts women’s apparel brands, such as Appleseed’s, in its portfolio. When Moody’s last looked at the financials Bluestem’s credit was listed as stable, but that could soon change. The first quarter of 2017 was not a good one and, as Moody’s notes, Bluestem’s unique position among retailers in its market segment make for an unstable future.

Next: The company might be able to ride the wave to higher ground.

13. Boardriders

Surfer wearing Quicksilver
It rebranded after bankruptcy. | Matt Cardy/Getty Images

The company once known as Quicksilver went into bankruptcy in 2015. When it came out of bankruptcy shortly after that, the retailer was rebranded as Boardriders and it now owns DC Shoes and Roxy. Of the companies on this list, it is the most stable, according to Moody’s credit ratings, but a proposed buyout of Billabong could muddy the waters for the future.

Next: Oversized debt load hurts this group of clothing brands.


FullBeauty clothing
FULLBEAUTY is millions in debt. | via Facebook

The several brands owned by FULLBEAUTY that cater to larger men and women, such as Jessica London, Woman Within, and King Size, could disappear in the very near future. The company lost $60 million in revenue for the year ending in July of 2017. With $345 million in debt due by 2023, the outlook isn’t bright.

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