Moody’s: Number of distressed retailers tops total during financial crisis

– June 9, 2017

The list of U.S. retailers with troubled financials that could make them potential bankruptcy risks now totals 22, according to ratings by Moody’s Investors Service — topping the 19 recorded at the peak of the Great Recession.

Confronting a major shift to online shopping Sears Holdings, Neiman Marcus Group and others on the list face a “perfect storm,” senior Moody’s retail analyst Charles O’Shea said Thursday, as he invoked the name of the Massachusetts fishing boat lost with all hands in a 1991 tempest. The disaster, chronicled by author Sebastian Junger, was later made into a movie featuring actors George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg.

“You’re on the Andrea Gail right now, and the water’s starting to get very choppy,” O’Shea said of the financial conditions buffeting troubled retailers.

And the worst could be yet to come. The ranks of distressed firms and retail sector defaults are likely to grow during the next 12 to 18 months, the rating agency predicted in a separate report issued Wednesday.

https://www.usatoday.com