The 85-year-old vitamin and dietary supplement company GNC has announced it's filing for bankruptcy and closing up to a quarter of its stores, CNN reported. The retailer has nearly $1 billion in debt, and is looking for a buyer. GNC has faced declining sales at its brick-and-mortar locations since before the coronavirus pandemic. However, CNN reported that stay-at-home orders over the past few months due to COVID-19 have prevented GNC from completing any refinancing plans, severely impacting the business in a negative way. In addition to stay-at-home orders, around 30 percent of GNC stores in the U.S. and Canada were forced to temporarily close because of the pandemic.
GNC will continue operating during the bankruptcy filing, but it will be downsizing. The company plans to close up to 20 percent of its 5,800 retail stores, which amounts to as many as 1,200 locations across the U.S., CNN reported.
Total Retail's Take: This announcement puts GNC on a growing list of retailers that have been permanently affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Others such as Tuesday Morning, Neiman Marcus, and J.C. Penney have also filed for bankruptcy over the past few months as well as announced permanent store closures. A tough reality the retail industry is facing is that more retail bankruptcies are expected in 2020 and beyond as a result of closed retail stores and slowing consumer spending. As a leaner company, hopefully GNC will be able to bounce back and pivot its strategy to better fit consumers' needs in this new retail landscape.
Ashley Chiaradio is the Senior Content Strategist at Total Retail. Ashley has been creating content for more than 7 years, and provides a unique insight in covering the retail industry having worked directly for retailers in the past. She’s passionate about profiling women leadership in the space.