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Monday, April 03, 2017

We’re close to seeing retail bankruptcies pile up like they did during the financial crisis

The number of retailers filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is headed toward its highest annual tally since the Great Recession.

Nine retailers have filed in just the first three months of 2017, according to data provided exclusively to CNBC from AlixPartners consulting firm. That equals the number for all of 2016. It also puts the industry on pace for the highest number of such filings since 2009, when 18 retailers resorted to that action.

The rising number of retail bankruptcies comes as consumers are making more purchases online, and shifting their spending toward travel and other experiences. Meanwhile, the supply of physical stores continues to outweigh shopper demand, putting pressure on the industry’s profits.

But it isn’t just those factors pushing retailers out of business. More than half the filings year to date have come from retailers that were previously purchased by private equity firms, according to AlixPartners. That’s up from an average 31 percent over the prior five years.

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