America’s Worst Retailers


Retailers’ rankings are often based on customer satisfaction. Costco tends to top these lists. Nordstrom also tends to do well. However, another way to rate retailers is by measuring satisfaction on Wall Street. This can be based on the extent to which a retailer’s sales have cratered recently, or how badly the company has let Wall Street down. Some retailers have done both.

Retail sales imploded when the pandemic hit, and some companies have never entirely recovered. The industry turned to curbside pickup and e-commerce to help prop up revenue. However, this did not work well enough to keep sales strong for most companies. Many in the industry laid off large numbers of people.

Several retailers have posted fairly good financial results recently, a sign that the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are well behind them. The best example of this is Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and employer. The company not only reported sales growth in its recent quarterly results, but sales grew more than analysts at Wall Street expected. (And here are 29 things you should never buy at Walmart.)

Troubled retailers fall into two categories. The first are those, like Target, that have stumbled badly but have the balance sheets to weather a period of poor sales. The other category is retailers that have barely been able to cling to solvency. They face a future that looks like those of defunct companies J.C. Penney and Sears. Bed Bath & Beyond is one such retailer, even though it recently received a modest cash infusion. (Find out where retailers rank on this list: retailers Americans are most likely to regret buying from.)

To determine America’s worst retailers, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed retailers’ financial results in the most recent quarters. To be included on this list, a retailer must have done at least one of three things: 1) posted a revenue decline, 2) posted a drop in same-store sales, or 3) missed Wall Street’s expectations. Some have managed all three. Several companies lost money in the same period, but this was not a requirement for being included. The list is not comprehensive and is in no particular order. 

Sales in the upcoming quarters for these retailers will be a sign of whether the consumer has pulled back shopping activity due to inflation or an economic slowdown.

Click here to see America’s worst retailers.

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