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Originally Published: Jan 02, 2018
Originally Published: Jan 02, 2018 Last Updated: Mar 08, 2018 3 min read
Burlington Coat Factory store exterior
Burlington Coat Factory store exterior.
John Greim—LightRocket via Getty Images

Retailer bankruptcies seriously piled up in 2017: A total of 50 major store chains, including iconic players like Toys R Us and Payless Shoes, filed for bankruptcy protection last year, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. That's up from 47 retailer bankruptcies in 2016 and only 30 in 2014.

The bad news is that 2018 is expected to be another brutal year for retailers, with even more bankruptcies and thousands of store closures likely.

Analysts say that American shopping centers are simply overbuilt, and that it's particularly difficult for all of the stores to survive in the era of increased competition from Amazon and other online retailers. That's why so many stores were at high risk for bankruptcy in 2017, and why the pace of retailer bankruptcies could increase this year.

S&P Global Market Intelligence recently published a list of the 15 retailers that are most likely to declare bankruptcy in the months ahead. The report includes some companies, such as Sun Pacific, Razer, and Clarus, that are better known as manufacturers but have a small retail presence. Here is S&P's top 15, ranked in order by the probability they will default in the next year.

[UPDATE: After publication of this article, S&P Global Market Intelligence amended its report to remove companies that are not primarily invested in apparel retail. Razer Inc., Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. and Clarus Corp. do not appear on the updated report.]

1. Sun Pacific Holding Corp. (sports gear and apparel retailer formerly known as EXOlifestyle)
Probability of Default: 44.38%

2. Sears Holding Corp. (Sears and Kmart)
Probability of Default: 25.37%

Customers browse through merchandise that is highly discounted in the Sears store on September 5, 2017 in Provo, Utah.
George Frey—Getty Images

3. Razer Inc. (tech-related apparel and gear for gamers)
Probability of Default: 22.86%

courtesy of Razer

4. Vince Holding Corp. (luxury fashion retailer)
Probability of Default: 17.94%

Alamy Stock Photo—Alamy Stock Photo

5. The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. (department store)
Probability of Default: 12.74%

Kristoffer Tripplaarmdash;Sipa USA via AP

6. Bebe Stores Inc. (apparel retailer)
Probability of Default: 10.17%

Shoppers pass the store as Adrianna Costa hosts bebe at Miracle Mile's "Bold New Look" event on January 12, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Isaac Brekken—WireImage

7. Destination Maternity Corp. (maternity clothing retailer)
Probability of Default: 9.34%

A Destination Maternity store in Midtown Manhattan in New York

8. Destination XL Group Inc. (big and tall men's apparel retailer)
Probability of Default: 8.78%

Brian Hackney, a Casual Male store manager from Nashville, straightens ties while helping set up the Destination XL store in the East Gate Shopping Center.

9. Stein Mart Inc. (department store)
Probability of Default: 8.24%

Entrance to SteinMart store or superstore in Virginia Gateway Shopping Center, Gainesville, Virginia.
Alamy Stock Photo—Alamy Stock Photo

10. Christopher & Banks Corp. (Minnesota-based women's apparel retailer with 500+ stores nationally)
Probability of Default: 8.04%

11. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Inc. (Sears Outlet)
Probability of Default: 7.23%

Darren Calabrese—AP

12. DGSE Cos Inc. (Dallas Gold and Silver Exchange)
Probability of Default: 6.50%

Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner watch

13. Burlington Stores Inc. (formerly Burlington Coat Factory)
Probability of Default: 5.96%

Burlington Coat Factory store exterior.
John Greim—LightRocket via Getty Images

14. Tailored Brands Inc. (Men's Wearhouse, Joseph A. Bank)
Probability of Default: 5.69%

People walk by a Jos. A. Bank store, in New York, March 3, 2014.
Richard Drew—AP

15. Clarus Corp. (outdoors apparel retailer formerly known as Black Diamond)
Probability of Default: 5.36%

Attendees are equipped with demo climbing gear at the Black Diamond booth during the Ouray Ice Festival, Ouray Ice Park, Ouray, Colorado.
Alamy Stock Photo

This post has been updated to clarify that some companies in S&P’s report are manufacturers with a small retail presence.