Why More Retailers Could Default in 2016
Last year was grim for retailers. This year could be even worse. Despite a late surge in holiday sales, companies like J.Crew and 99 Cents Only Stores are struggling under debt they took on in leveraged buyouts years ago. Their bond prices have plummeted as investors brace for possible defaults. The industry has been limping along for a while now due to a variety of forces. Spending has migrated online, lenders have turned wary and the debt burdens of pre-crisis buyouts will make it tough to revive struggling merchants. Eleven retailers defaulted last year through Dec. 14, the highest annual tally since 2009, according to Standard & Poor’s data. And the near future doesn’t look much brighter.