What Are The Top 20 Retail Bankruptcies Of All Time…and Will Neiman Marcus and Penney Join the List?

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The retailing industry has seen its share of bad times and bad management – and had the bankruptcies and liquidations to prove it.

With current speculation that both Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney are considering – and may be close to – filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy, Stupidbusiness.com has put together a list of the 20 largest retail bankruptcies since 1978 when the current laws essentially went into effect.

It’s an infamous – some would say sad – list of once iconic brand names, most of which eventually went on to be liquidated despite whatever short-term relief they secured under business reorganization. (And yes, Montgomery Ward is on there twice, a dubious distinction that eventually took them to total insolvency.)

Take a stroll now retail memory lane and see how many of these you remember. Anyone who thinks there won’t soon be new additions to this list is…well, Stupid.

These retailers are ranked by assets (in the currency value at the time of the filing) and their ultimate outcome. And note, some of these retailers remain in business online or in some other form but other than their brand names have no connection to the original business.

 

  1. Kmart

Type: Discount

Year filed: 2002

Assets: $14 billion

Outcome: Remains in business

 

  1. Campeau (Federated, Allied)

Type: Department

Year filed: 1990

Assets: $11.4 billion

Outcome: Remains in business (Macy’s)

 

  1. Sears Holdings

Type: Department, Discount

Year filed: 2018

Assets: $6.9 billion

Outcome: Remains in business

 

  1. Toys’R’Us

Type: Toys

Year filed: 2017

Assets: $6.9 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Macy’s

Type: Department
Year filed: 1992

Assets: $4.94 billion

Outcome: Remains in business

 

  1. Montgomery Ward

Type: Discount

Year filed: 1997

Assets: $4.9 billion

Outcome: Remained in business

  1. Circuit City

Type: Consumer electronics

Year filed: 2008

Assets: $3.75 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Montgomery Ward

Type: Discount

Year filed: 2000

Assets: $3.5 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Carter Hawley Hale Stores

Type: Department

Year filed: 1991

Assets: $2.1 billion

Outcome: Remains in business (Macy’s)

 

  1. Ames Department Stores

Type: Discount

Year filed: 2001

Assets: $2 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Spiegel

Type: Mail order

Year filed: 2003

Assets: $1.9 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Revco

Type: Drug

Year filed: 1988

Assets: $1.8 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Zale

Type: Jewelry

Year filed: 1992

Assets: $1.8 billion

Outcome: Remains in business

 

  1. Linens’N Things

Type: Home furnishings

Year filed: 2008

Assets: $1.74 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. A&P

Type: Supermarket

Year filed: 2015

Assets: $1.6 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Radio Shack

Type: Consumer electronics

Year filed: 2015

Assets: $1.59 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Bon-Ton

Type: Department store

Year filed: 2018

Assets: $1.59 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Blockbuster

Type: Video rental

Year filed: 2010

Assets: $1.54 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Borders

Type: Books

Year filed: 2011

Assets: $1.42 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

  1. Sports Authority

Type: Sporting goods

Year filed: 2016

Assets: $1 billion

Outcome: Liquidated

 

 

 

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