The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the demise of companies that were already in trouble as Americans (and their dollars) stay home amid lockdowns and economic shutdowns. Oil and gas drillers like Whiting Petroleum and Diamond Offshore filed for bankruptcy in late April, and J.Crew became the first major U.S. retailer to do the same on May 4. More are on the way.
“It has been a poorly-kept secret that a number of the big-box retailers were struggling,” says Scott Williams, a bankruptcy attorney at RumbergerKirk. “There has not been a dramatic uptick in the last 45 days. What I think you’ve seen is lots of people being forced into, ‘I’m going to get there at some point.