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sports authority

Sports Authority, at one time the largest sporting goods retailer in the country, is having a going-out-of-business sale. At a time when the Federal Reserve is considering an interest rate hike due to an improving economy, some parts of retail apparently didn’t get the memo.

Related: Department Stores Are In Real Trouble

Retail Bankruptcies Abound

Sports Authority is not alone. RadioShack went bankrupt last year, as did American Apparel. Columbia House, home of “8 records for 1 cent,” filed for bankruptcy last August, though most probably thought the company went out of business long ago.

Other once well-known names that are no more include Circuit City, Linens & Things, A&P, Blockbuster and Borders to name just a few - all within the last 10 years.

Common Causes

Reasons for a retailer’s demise are varied but often cut across specialties. Among them, too much debt. There’s also competition, lately from online merchants such as Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZNC). Sports Authority was also cited for its inability to keep up with trends.

Poor leadership at the corporate level is often a major part of the problem. Sometimes it has to do with lack of vision and other times it’s a matter of just not finding a way to be relevant anymore.

Who’s Next?

Brands that are closing a lot of stores are certainly on the suspect list – although frequently, closing losing operations is how companies save themselves. Those in shut-down mode include Finish Line Inc. (:FINLN/A), which has said it planned to close up to 25% of its stores.

Kohl’s Corp. (NYSE:KSSC) said it would close 18 stores and anticipated sales for 2016 would fall, never a good sign. Even former retailing giant, Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ:SHLDF) indicated it would close at least 50 locations.


Who’s Not?

Retail is not all doom and gloom. Some retailers are doing so well they made the National Retail Federation’s Hot 100 list for 2015 with a bright future predicted for each of them.

In e-commerce, the afore-mentioned Amazon comes in number 1. Others include Wayfair (NYSE:WC) and Overstock.com Inc. (NASDAQ:OSTKB). Leaders in food and drugs include The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KRC), Costco (NASDAQ:COSTB) and Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBAC).

Leaders in the hard goods space include AT&T (NYSE:TB) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZB) while Chipotle (NYSE:CMGC), even with its problems and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUXC) lead the restaurant division.

Perhaps more important that who’s hot now, is the list of who has been hot on a consistent basis. Those retailers include Amazon, Tractor Supply Co. (NASDAQ:TSCOB), Dick’s Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKSC), Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTRC) and Ross Stores (NASDAQ:ROSTC).

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