LATAM Airlines
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Companies That Have Filed for Bankruptcy Since the Pandemic Began — and Which Ones Could Be Next

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Pandemic Bankruptcies So Far

Retailers had a brutal 2019, and while predictions for 2020 were similarly grim, they didn't include the coronavirus. Now a growing number of companies are waving a white flag as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on not just retail but other parts of the global economy. Here are some of the most prominent companies to file for bankruptcy since mid-March, including one announced today, and a slew of big names that are at risk of following.

Related: 50 Events That Made Retail History Before the Pandemic

Tuesday Morning
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Tuesday Morning

This Dallas-based discount home-goods chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday, saying it was the only way to bounce back from two months of pandemic-related store closings. Part of the reorganization: The company will close 230 of its 700 stores.

LATAM Airlines
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LATAM Airlines

Latin America’s largest carrier has become the latest airline to declare bankruptcy during the pandemic, filing for Chapter 11 protection on Tuesday. Unlike chief competitor Avianca, it was on solid financial footing before most flights were grounded, according to Reuters.

Hertz
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Hertz

The rental-car behemoth filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week, saying the pandemic has brought business to a screeching halt as would-be travelers stay home. The company plans to burn through $1 billion in cash on hand to maintain operations while reorganizing. It has already laid off or furloughed 20,000 workers.

JCPenney
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JCPenney

JCPenney has been on retail analysts’ watch list for a while, and the beleaguered department store chain finally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-May. The company said the pandemic had torpedoed ongoing efforts to bolster its finances. It will be closing 240 stores as part of its restructuring plan.

Related: 24 Things to Buy at JCPenney While You Still Can

Pier 1 Imports
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Pier 1

Although Pier 1 declared bankruptcy in February, before the pandemic had fully taken hold, the company's hope was to find a buyer to breathe new life into the struggling chain of home goods stores. But Pier 1 said last week that it would close all stores and begin liquidating instead, partially blaming the “uncertainty of a post-COVID world.”

Souplantation
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Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes

While most major companies are restructuring in bankruptcy, the parent company of prominent buffet chains Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes is closing all locations for good. Garden Fresh Restaurants filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in mid-May, saying federal regulations forbidding self-service in restaurants made salvaging the business too difficult.

J. Crew
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J. Crew

Preppy-apparel stalwart J. Crew has been in trouble for years, a victim of lower mall foot traffic and the shift to online shopping even as its Madewell brand found a following. It filed in early May for Chapter 11 protection, but experts say that probably would have happened regardless of the pandemic temporarily shuttering stores. The retailer will use $400 million in creditor money to navigate bankruptcy.

Gold's Gym
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Gold's Gym

The pandemic has been crushing for gyms, and Gold's Gym announced in early May that it was filing for bankruptcy, saying "no single factor" has harmed its business more. Though the chain closed 30 locations permanently in April, the rest of its locations will stay open where permitted as it reorganizes.

Neiman Marcus
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Neiman Marcus

Department stores have long been struggling to adapt to a world increasingly dependent on ecommerce, and the "unprecedented disruption" caused by COVID-19 forced the hand of debt-saddled luxury chain Neiman Marcus. It filed for Chapter 11 protection in early May and says it will draw on $675 million in creditor funds to operate for the next several months while reorganizing.

Related: 18 Iconic Department Stores We Miss

Avianca
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Avianca

This prominent Latin American airline filed May 10 for Chapter 11 protection May 11, directly citing "the unforeseeable impact" of the pandemic on business. The company says 88% of the countries where it flies are under total or partial travel lockdown, but analysts note that the airline was already in trouble from negative credit ratings and sudden leadership changes.

Stage Stores
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Stage Stores

This parent company of well-known chains including Bealls, Goody’s, and Palais Royal also sought Chapter 11 protection May 11, a move being discussed before the pandemic. Although it will seek a buyer, Stage still plans to liquidate inventory at its more than 700 stores as they reopen in the coming weeks.

Hits Keep Coming
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Aldo

This footwear retailer announced in early May that it had filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in the United States and is seeking similar relief in Canada, where it is based, and Switzerland. While it says it had faced challenges before the pandemic, COVID-19 "has put too much pressure on our business and our cash flows."

Related: 25 Canadian Stores That Americans Love

Frontier Communications
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Frontier Communications

While most communications businesses are well-positioned to survive and even thrive during the pandemic, Frontier Communications filed for Chapter 11 in April, admitting it's been too slow to upgrade its network, especially as customers expect faster internet speeds. The company has pledged to maintain service while restructuring.

Virgin Australia
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Virgin Australia

Airlines were one of the first industries to feel the pain of COVID-19, and Australia's second-largest airline filed for bankruptcy in April after the Australian government decided against a $888 million bailout. Founder Richard Branson has also sought help from the U.K. government, even offering his private island estate in the British Virgin Islands as collateral. The airline says it will continue to operate like normal as it restructures.

SpeedCast International
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SpeedCast International

Satellite communications company SpeedCast International, the company likely responsible for the internet connection on your last cruise, filed for bankruptcy in April after sustaining a one-two punch. Cruises have been halted because of the pandemic, and its other major customer, the oil industry, is struggling as oil prices bottom out.

Related: 1 in 4 Avid Cruise Goers: 'I'll Never Go on a Cruise Again'

True Religion
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Dean & DeLuca
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Dean & DeLuca

Long a shell of its former self, gourmet grocer Dean & DeLuca filed for bankruptcy at the end of March. The grocer, bought by a Thai company in 2014, closed its last remaining store in October and reports that it has one remaining employee and more than a half-million dollars in liabilities. Still, it hopes to restructure and eventually reopen stores in New York City.

Sur La Table Storefront
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In Trouble: Sur La Table

One of the nation’s more prominent specialty cookware retailers is reportedly prepping for a bankruptcy filing and seeking a buyer after COVID-19 forced it to shut down stores and cancel its signature cooking classes.

In Trouble: GNC
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In Trouble: GNC

The inescapable vitamin retailer owes millions to creditors that it acknowledged in mid-March, at the beginning of the pandemic, it probably wouldn't be able to pay.

Sears Price-Match Policy
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112515 stores closed on thanksgiving slide 7 fs
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In Trouble: GameStop

The retailer's stock has been on a steady decline for seven years as gamers continue to turn to game downloads that don't require a store visit. At the end of March, the company announced it would be closing 300 stores permanently; it closed a similar number in 2019.

Rite Aid
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In Trouble: Rite Aid

Rite Aid continues to face steep competition from the likes of CVS and Walgreens, as well as big-box stores like Target and Walmart. It also has billions in debt and little ability to diversify, analysts say.

Wendy's
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In Trouble: NPC International

The largest operator of iconic fast-food brands Pizza Hut and Wendy's was already on shaky footing at the beginning of the year, and was reportedly considering bankruptcy as it attempted to pay $800 million in debt.

Related: Best Cheap Delivery Pizza

Party City
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In Trouble: Party City

Already struggling after a helium shortage and poor Halloween sales, Party City is in even deeper trouble because of the pandemic and social-distancing guidelines that make most parties a no-go. The company has reportedly hired a firm to help it plan a potential restructuring plan.

Forever 21
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In Trouble: Forever 21

A new owner recently acquired Forever 21, which already filed for bankruptcy last year. While store closings were already in the mix, the pandemic makes the company's fragile reorganization especially fraught.

In Trouble: L Brands
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 Norwegian Air
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In Trouble: Norwegian Air

Plenty of airlines could join this list depending on how long travel restrictions cripple business, but Norwegian Air may be among the worst off. It was already struggling before the pandemic, and several of its subsidiaries have already filed for bankruptcy.

Steak 'n Shake
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In Trouble: Steak 'n Shake

Analysts warn that this quick-service staple will have an especially hard time refinancing its loans and avoiding bankruptcy as pandemic-related shutdowns further eat into earnings.

Ann Taylor Loft
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In Trouble: Ascena Retail Group

Best known for mall staples Ann Taylor, Loft, and Lane Bryant, Ascena closed all of its Dressbarn stores last year and has struggled with falling store foot traffic. Its focus on business casual apparel makes it particularly vulnerable as more people work from home, analysts say.