Blockbuster, Borders, Sports Authority, and more: the biggest retail bankruptcies of the last decade

closed mall retail apocalypse

Dozens of retailers filed for bankruptcy over the last decade amid colossal changes in Americans' consumption habits.

The bankruptcies span a broad spectrum of retailers, including RadioShack, American Apparel, Borders, Blockbuster, and Sears. Advertisement

Many of these bankruptcies resulted in mass store closures that have helped send hundreds of shopping malls into years-long downward spirals, from which some malls never recovered.

Some retailers emerged from bankruptcy with smaller physical footprints, while others ended up liquidating entirely.

Here are some of the biggest bankruptcies of the last decade.
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Blockbuster

Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010 as it battled the growing popularity of Netflix, Redbox kiosks, and other video-on-demand services.

At its peak in 2005, the video and DVD rental chain had more than 9,100 stores globally. By 2014, the company had closed most of its stores. Only one Blockbuster now remains open in Bend, Oregon.

Borders

Borders had about 642 stores, including 100 Waldenbooks locations, when it filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2011. Within seven months, the bookstore chain had liquidated all its stores.

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American Apparel

American Apparel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015 and then again in 2016, before ultimately closing all its stores.

The brand has since relaunched online.

Sports Authority

Sports Authority, once the largest sporting goods retailer in the US, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March 2016 and later liquidated all its stores.

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hhgregg

Electronics retailer hhgregg filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2017 and failed to find a buyer for its business. The company announced in April 2017 that it would liquidate all its remaining stores.

Toys R Us

Toys R Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2017, and by the following year closed all its stores in the US and UK.

Since then, two new Toys R Us stores have been opened by Tru Kids, a company created in February that owns the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands, has opened new

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RadioShack

RadioShack filed for bankruptcy (for the second time in as many years) in 2017 and closed 1,000 stores. The electronics retailer later emerged from bankruptcy and opened dozens of "RadioShack Express" locations inside HobbyTown stores.

Rue21

Rue21 filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2017 and closed more than 400 stores over the next several months. The company emerged from the proceedings in September of that year with about 750 stores remaining.

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Mattress Firm

Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy in October 2018 and emerged from the proceedings about a month later after closing 660 stores.

Brookstone

Brookstone filed for bankruptcy in August 2018 and said it would close all its 101 mall-based stores. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2019 with its 30 airport-based shops remaining in operation.

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The Bon-Ton Stores

The Bon-Ton Stores operated department stores under the banners Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Carson's, Younkers, Herberger's, Boston Store, and Elder-Beerman. The company filed for bankruptcy in February 2018 and later liquidated all its stores.

The Limited

The women's clothing retailer The Limited filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2017 and shut down all 250 of its stores.

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Sears

Sears filed for bankruptcy in October 2018 with about 700 Sears and Kmart stores. The company's former CEO, Eddie Lampert, purchased the company out of bankruptcy four months later through Transformco, a subsidiary of Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments.

Since then, Sears has closed hundreds more stores and the company has executed several rounds of corporate layoffs. After the most recent round of closures, 182 Sears and Kmart stores will remain in operation.

Payless Shoesource

Payless filed for bankruptcy in February 2019 and said it planned to close all of its 2,500 stores in what could be the largest retail liquidation in history.

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Gymboree

Gymboree Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2019 and said it planned to close more than 800 stores under its Gymboree and Crazy 8 banners.

Charlotte Russe

Charlotte Russe kicked off closing sales at 94 stores in February 2019, after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In March, the company announced that it would liquidate its remaining 416 Charlotte Russe stores and 10 Peek Kids stores.

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Shopko

Shopko filed for bankruptcy in January 2019 and said it would close 251 stores. The company said in March that it had failed to find a buyer for its business, and would liquidate its remaining 120 stores.

Fred's

Between April and July of 2019, Discount chain Fred's announced plans to close more than 440 stores. In September 2019, the company filed for bankruptcy and said it would close all its remaining stores within 60 days.

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Forever 21

Forever 21 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2019 and said that it expected to close 350 stores globally, including up to 178 locations in the US.

Destination Maternity

Destination Maternity filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2019, and said it planned to shutter 183 stores in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The company had previously closed 75 stores in 2019.

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