Ailing GNC Enters Chapter 11 as Coronavirus Closes Stores

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A fixture at retail malls across the country has declared bankruptcy protection.

Health and wellness company GNC Holdings (GNC) - Get Report has filed for Chapter 11 in an effort to cut its debt load and possibly sell itself amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Pittsburgh-based retailer on Tuesday filed for Chapter 11 protection, which will allow it to continue operating while it looks to both restructure its balance sheet and, at the same time, look for a buyer for its business at a starting price tag of $760 million.

GNC’s move follows a growing list of retailers who have succumbed to the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has not only shuttered physical stores but also forced millions of consumers to re-prioritize what they spend money on.

Compounding GNC’s troubles is the company’s significant debt, which it already carried entering the crisis amid faltering sales among its 5,200 U.S. retail locations. GNC also has 1,600 Rite Aid in-store locations, as well as operations in some 50 international markets.

As part of the bankruptcy restructuring, GNC will seek to speed up closures of at least 800 to 1,200 stores, many of which are located in malls and shopping centers that until recently have been shuttered by the pandemic. 

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