Retailers Flirt With Junk Ratings While Mall Vacancies Rise

Nasty Gal Bankruptcy

The junkyard is getting a little bit crowded with retailers.

According to a news report, commerce-focused retail companies with a (quite) less than stellar rating of CCC – defined as high risk –  have skyrocketed since the dawn of 2017.

As much as 18 percent of retailers in the U.S. have notched the CCC rating as bestowed by Standard and Poor’s, as noted in a recent report by that ratings agency. That’s a doubling since the beginning of the year.

The numbers overall show 21 percent of retail and restaurant firms, as surveyed by S&P, are in some form of distress.

The CCC signals to lenders that non-payment might be a possibility when it comes to shouldering debt. The retailer would ostensibly need positive industry conditions in order to continue meeting obligations. Firms within the CCC designation include Neiman Marcus and the corporate owner of Winn-Dixie.

The problems beleaguering retailers are sizeable. In addition to competitive pressures leading to discounting, as noted by CNBC, shoppers are fickle.

The dovetailing of the above conditions has shifted some household retail names into or dangerous close to bankruptcy, ToysRUs among the latest. Others noted by CNBC include RadioShack and Payless ShoeSource.

In the meantime, Reuters reports that mall vacancies are trending upward, with Reis noting that tally is now 8.3 percent. Vacancies have been spurred by closings at Sears and JCPenney. Smaller community shopping centers have a vacancy rate of 10 percent.


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