Reality Bites Retail: Most Bankruptcies Since 2009

Takeaway: The Aeropostale bankruptcy marks the sixth of the year -- putting the YTD count ahead of the full-year tally for each of the past 6 years.

Editor's Note: Below is a brief excerpt from an institutional research note written recently by Hedgeye Retail analyst Brian McGough. To access our institutional research email sales@hedgeye.com.

Reality Bites Retail: Most Bankruptcies Since 2009 - chapter 11 bankruptcy

BANKRUPTCY CYCLE PLOWS AHEAD

In case you were hiding under a rock, Aeropostale finally did a favor for both the teen shopping crowd and the investment community alike when it filed Chapter 11 this week. There are two major takeaways from where we sit…

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Reality Bites Retail: Most Bankruptcies Since 2009 - retail bankruptcy 1

  1. First off, let this serve as a reminder as to how long these apparel retailers can sustain a state of sub-mediocrity without going under. While not super high margin businesses, the only real capital needs are in inventory -- as capex is generally low, and property values are almost all off-balance sheet. In other words, by the time a company looks like it is headed to file, it might actually have another full economic cycle left in it. That's Aeropostale.
  2. Secondly, this event marks the sixth major retail bankruptcy of the year -- putting the year-to-date count ahead of the full-year Ch 11 tally for each of the past six years. If we annualize the current run-rate, we'll be on track to see more bankruptcy events than any year in two generations -- including the Great Recession. In fairness, as someone astutely pointed out to us last month, Chapter 11 filings are historically weighted toward the start of the fiscal year. That, in fact, is true. But we're still likely to see a few more by the end of the year. Regardless of any nuances, the most notable point to us is that we're seeing such a significant uptick in business failures when we're so late in this economic cycle.  

Reality Bites Retail: Most Bankruptcies Since 2009 - retail bankruptcy 2