Year in Review: Retail Bloodbath

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Credit: Illustration by Tam Nguyen/Ad Age

The year 2017 was many things -- but one of them was not the year of the retailer -- unless that retailer's name is Amazon. A more accurate description is the year of retail bankruptcy.

Threadbare apparel

The year began with the Chapter 11 filing of The Limited, which closed all its stores. Rue21, Wet Seal, BCBG and True Religion followed. Private equity firm Sycamore Partners paid $26.8 million for The Limited's e-commerce site.

Bad call, ref

Eastern Outfitters, parent company of Bob's Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports, filed for bankruptcy protection and closed 48 of its nearly 90 locations.

Electric slide

After over 60 years in business, Hhgregg filed Chapter 11 and closed more than 220 stores. Its online store is still operating.

No Cinderella story

Payless ShoeSource closed hundreds of stores as part of its bankruptcy filing, then had to convince customers 4,000 stores are still open.

Déjà vu

Radio Shack filed for bankruptcy in March, its second such filing in two years, after a co-branding deal with Sprint failed. It then sued Sprint, accusing it of using Radio Shack sales data to open its own stores near the best-performing sites.

The kids aren't all right

Childrenswear brand Gymboree filed for bankruptcy protection and closed 350 units of its 1,300-store fleet.

The bride wore red

The bankruptcy of bridal designer Alfred Angelo was a disaster for those whose dresses weren't ready before the liquidation.

Tough pill to swallow

Vitamin World filed Chapter 11 and closed stores, while GNC had a Super Bowl snafu when its spot was banned at the 11th hour.

The Grinch stole...a lot

Toys R Us sought Chapter 11 protection. Still in business, merchandise is being depleted and customer service is lacking.

The adman cometh

As legacy brands grapple with changing consumer dynamics and Amazon, 2018 could bring a host of new bankruptcies. But our money's on Sears to fail, which many consumers already believe to be bankrupt.

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