Filing ‘Chapter 22’ Becomes Enticing Option for Ailing Retailers

Struggling retail companies across the U.S. are shuttering their stores and declaring bankruptcy — again. 

Of at least 10 merchants to file for Chapter 11 protection from creditors in the past year, four are taking the trip to bankruptcy court for the second time in as many years. 

While the ins-and-outs of bankruptcy are inscrutable to the average customer, at its heart the process exists to give beleaguered companies a fresh start free from crippling debt. The recent spate of “Chapter 22s,” as the industry sardonically refers to second filings, demonstrates an unpleasant truth in corporate finance: It’s not always enough to keep the companies alive.

After struggling to boost earnings after the financial crisis, retailers have been battered by declining foot traffic, the rise of big-box stores and the growing clout of Amazon.com. Many were further encumbered when they took on debt to fund private equity-sponsored acquisitions. The existence

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