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Retail had one heck of a 2016. It was a bleak year with at least 14 major U.S. retailers closing 100 or more stores.

But if that seems like a lot, hold on to your hats in 2017 as more stores get ready to bite the dust!

Predicting which retailer is the next house of cards to fall has become something of a game, like the brick-and-mortar equivalent of Newspaper Death Watch.

But there’s no need to read tea leaves or rely on rumor or innuendo — not when you have cold, hard data to assess the health of a business!

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Fitch Ratings, one of the preeminent credit rating agencies, has a new list of the retailers most likely to go bust in 2017 or 2018.

The at-risk companies include:

  • Sears Holdings
  • Claire’s Stores
  • True Religion Apparel
  • Nine West Holdings
  • Rue21
  • 99 Cents Only Stores
  • Nebraska Book Company

The level of debt each of these retailers carries is a key indicator of possible bankruptcy.

Fitch says to expect liquidations if and when these retailers default on their loans.


Theo Thimou, |