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Everyone loves a sale, unless that sale is an investment you bought at half-off and then continued to plummet to zero.
That's already happened to a handful of once-promising retail stocks.
And they're just the tip of an iceberg.
Not only are more name-brand retailers melting down and preparing to declare bankruptcy, the Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) that own and operate the malls they're in are headed for the half-off sales bin.
But if you feel like a kid in a candy shop surrounded by these "bargains," you've been duped.
Some retailers will declare bankruptcy and be buried once and for all. Some will declare bankruptcy and rise from the ashes. And some will rise from the ashes just to declare bankruptcy again.
The Difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 11
The first thing to understand is there are different bankruptcy filings companies generally employ.
Filing Chapter 7 is throwing in the towel.
It means the company ceases operations; however, in unusual circumstances a Chapter 7 trustee can continue some operations. But, more often than not, the trustee oversees the liquidation of the company's assets, and proceeds are used to pay off creditors.
In a Chapter 11 filing, the principal debtor (known as debtor in possession) or a trustee, is empowered to reorganize the company.
Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, the debtor in possession or trustee can refinance loans. This gives new lenders first priority on the business's earnings, the ability to reject and cancel contracts, and shelter the company from some types of litigation against the business through the imposition of an automatic stay. With an automatic stay, creditors are stayed from any collection attempts or activities against the debtor in possession.
Retailers filing Chapter 7 are going out of business, usually for good. If you see what you think is that familiar company again, it's usually because a buyer of their name and other assets of the dead company may start-up another company they want associated with a legacy brand.
Most retailers declare bankruptcy because they can't pay the interest or principal on the money they owe.
Reorganizing under Chapter 11 is an opportunity to change-up management, close stores, lay off employees, rework loans, slim down, and try to reflate the brand and sales.
But debt is more often the symptom, and not the cause of the retailer's troubles.
One huge problem retailers have in America is there are so many of them taking up so much retail space.
Not Worth the Ground They Sit On
In terms of square foot per capita, the United States has an estimated 48 square feet of retail space for each person in the country. That's twice as much as the UK, the next largest retail per capita country in the world.
The knock on retailers who own or lease rea…
About the Author
Shah Gilani is the Event Trading Specialist for Money Map Press. In Zenith Trading Circle Shah reveals the worst companies in the markets - right from his coveted Bankruptcy Almanac - and how readers can trade them over and over again for huge gains.Shah is also the proud founding editor of The Money Zone, where after eight years of development and 11 years of backtesting he has found the edge over stocks, giving his members the opportunity to rake in potential double, triple, or even quadruple-digit profits weekly with just a few quick steps. He also writes our most talked-about publication, Wall Street Insights & Indictments, where he reveals how Wall Street's high-stakes game is really played.