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USA - Retailing industry:Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at a staggering rate — and these 19 companies could be the next to default -by Hayley Peterson

Retail bankruptcies and defaults hit a peak last year, soaring past records set during the recession, and things could get even worse this year, according to the credit-ratings agency S&P Global Ratings.

"We believe defaults in 2018 could match or exceed last year's record level," S&P Global Ratings analyst Robert Shulz wrote in a recent report that identified 20 retailers at risk of defaulting.
The pace of retail liquidations could also pick up this year, he wrote.

"Despite store closures amid the turmoil, the US remains significantly oversaturated with retail stores," he wrote. "Some retailers have made progress towards better aligning their physical footprint to the new reality of physical versus virtual sales, but there is still excess capacity."

Toys R Us will likely become the first retailer to liquidate in 2018. The company filed a motion to liquidate its business on Thursday, meaning it will close or sell its remaining 735 US stores.

Among the bankruptcies so far this year are Bon-Ton Stores, which filed in February, and Bi-Lo, which owns the grocery store chains Winn-Dixie and Tops Friendly Markets.

The girls' jewelry and accessory chain Claire's is reportedly preparing to declare bankruptcy soon as well.

S&P Global Markets has identified the 19 retailers that are most at risk of defaulting next.

Here's the full list.
  • 99 Cents Only Stores LLC
  • Bluestem Brands, Inc.
  • Everest Holdings, LLC
  • FULLBEAUTY Brands Holdings Corp.
  • J.Crew Group, Inc.
  • New Academy Holding Co. LLC
  • PetSmart Inc.
  • Steak 'n Shake Inc.
  • SSH Holdings
  • David's Bridal, Inc.
  • Neiman Marcus Group
  • Evergreen AcqCo 1 LP
  • HT Intermediate Holdings Corp.
  • Payless
  • BKH
  • The Fresh Market
  • Guitar Center
  • Claire's Stores, Inc.
  • Sears Holdings
Read More: Retailers are filing for bankruptcy at a staggering rate — and these 19 companies could be the next to default

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