A growing number of traditional American retailers are in intensive care -- and Amazon put many of them there.
The number of distressed U.S. retailers has tripled since the Great Recession and now stands at the highest level since the end of the downturn, according to a recent Moody's Investors Service report.
These companies are grappling with intense competition, "erratic management" and limited financial flexibility, Moody's said.
The 19 retail and clothing companies on the distressed list include Sears and Kmart owner Sears Holdings, J. Crew, Payless, Claire's, Rue21 and True Religion.
The report is a sobering reminder of the consequences of the rise of e-commerce, especially Amazon.
"It's been a downward spiral for traditional retailers," said Christian Magoon, CEO of Amplify ETFs, which last year launched a fund that tracks online-focused retailers.
"The model of online retailers is winning out. They are more competitive on pricing, they have better selection, and their convenience level is quite high," Magoon said.
Online retailers are also free of the substantial real-estate and labor costs that weigh down brick-and-mortar stores.
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