13 Recent Bankruptcies That Shocked The Business World


From big name brands to corporations you would never expect to see go bankrupt, sometimes filing for bankruptcy is a necessary step towards protecting one’s assets. Maybe it’s strong competition, debt you can’t repay, internal business trouble, or something else. Here are some recent bankruptcies we think are worth noting.

1. Payless ShoeSource (Bankruptcy in February 2019)

This recent bankruptcy only occurred a few months ago. Payless ShoeSource filed for bankruptcy in February 2019, committing to shutting down 2,500+ locations across the US. This comes after closing down 900 stores in 2018. The bankruptcy has not affected the company’s operations in Latin America or its franchisee stores. No matter, Payless ShoeSource continues to disintegrate while it waits for a buyer.

2. Brookstone (Bankruptcy in August 2018)

Brookstone’s collection of malls in recent memory have proven to be unsuccessful at attracting tenants and consumers to their buildings. Filing for bankruptcy in August 2018, it’s hard to deny declining traffic at malls across the US is a huge reason why corporations like Brookstone are in trouble.

3. Things Remembered (Bankruptcy in February 2019)

Things Remembered filed for bankruptcy in February 2019 and was bought not long after by Enesco, a gift and home décor third party business. By selling the company, executives at Things Remembered saved the closing of more than 400 stores. Burdened by an undisclosed amount of debt, bankruptcy for the corporation was inevitably. The same day, they announced the bankruptcy and sale.

4. Bristow Group (Bankruptcy in May 2019)

One of the most recent bankruptcies in this list, The Bristow Group is a helicopter and aviation firm operating worldwide with revenues of more than $1.67 billion annually. In May 2019, they filed for bankruptcy protection for its North American operations. This was due to a lack of demand for their services as crude oil prices have fallen in addition to debt which has accumulated to more than $1.4 billion.

5. Claire’s (Bankruptcy in October 2018)

Claire’s declared bankruptcy in March 2018 and came out of it in October 2018 after having reduced its debt down by $1.9 billion. Although Claire’s continues to experience growth, debt problems remain a risk for the corporation. That aside, Claire’s continues to be in more than 99 percent of American malls and their concessions business added 4,000 locations last year alone.

6. Sears (Bankruptcy in October 2018)

Sears, and subsequently its subsidiary Kmart, filed for bankruptcy in October 2018 due to accumulating debt which the corporation could not repay and falling sales, momentum the company couldn’t break. In the wake of this bankruptcy declaration, Sears controversially laid off hundreds of employees while providing more than $25 million in performance bonuses to executives.

7. Diesel USA (Bankruptcy in March 2019)

The very popular jeans retailer filed for Chapter 11 protection in March 2019 under the guise it intends to re-brand and relocate some of its stores to smaller spaces. Diesel USA’s reasons for bankruptcy include less demand from wholesale partners, a significant sales decline, and high expenses at underperforming locations.

8. Mattress Firm (Bankruptcy in October 2018)

Mattress Firm is the largest mattress retailer in the United States. They filed for bankruptcy in October, coming out of it the following month. In that time, they shut down about 900 locations nationwide and obtained more than $525 million in financing to help them with future growth.

Although some might see Mattress Firm’s 2018 bankruptcy as a successful strategy, it hasn’t changed a marketplace which is shifting to newer, trendier brands targeting millennial audiences.

9. Toys R Us (Bankruptcy in September 2017)

After 70 years in business, Toys R Us filed for bankruptcy in September 2017 and in the months following, closed down all of its 735 US stores. Toys R Us is one of those brands that so many of us grew up with and cherished. It was sad to see it go but at the same time, in an era of increased competition and the powerhouse that is online shopping, even corporations this size are struggling.

10. David’s Bridal (Bankruptcy in November 2018)

David’s Bridal, the popular wedding dress detail, filed for bankruptcy in November 2018. Executives hoped bankruptcy protection would allow them to restructure to reduce debt owing by almost $400 million. Although the near 70-year company has struggled to stay profitable this past decade, they emerged from bankruptcy in January 2019 under a group of lenders which closely followed with a restructuring of top executives.

11. The Weinstein Company (Bankruptcy in March 2018)

In March 2018, the Weinstein Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. There’s no question this was primarily due to the consequences that came with the discovery of sexual misconduct of Harvey Weinstein. At the height of its power, it was one of the US’ most powerful independent film studios. This just goes to show the impact controversy and scandal can have across a corporation.

12. FullBeauty Brands (Bankruptcy in February 2019)

FullBeauty Brands filed for bankruptcy in February 2019. The plus-size retailer has filed for Chapter 11 protection in an effort to reduce $900 million in debt. This is one of the fastest approvals of bankruptcy in the US in recent memory, with FullBeauty Brands filing and receiving approval in 24 hours.

13. Z Gallerie (Bankruptcy in 2019)

Z Gallerie filed for bankruptcy in March 2019, committing to closing down 17 stores of approximately 80 nationwide. Z Gallerie’s bankruptcy is expected to end in July 2019. The company’s committed to continuing to operate its remaining physical locations as well as its eCommerce business.