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Thomas S. Onder is a member of the Shopping Center & Retail Development Group, as well as a member of the Real Estate, Litigation, and Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Groups of Stark & Stark.  Mr. Onder is active in the International Council of Shopping Centers (“ICSC”) and concentrates his practice in the area of commercial leasing and litigation, focusing in commercial landlord disputes and secured transactions before state and federal courts in New York and New Jersey, as well as the Federal Claims Court in Washington, DC.

The unprecedented global pandemic has created a limbo for most retail tenants, and in some cases, left landlords without payment of rents. Further, some states have placed moratoriums on eviction actions, allowing tenant to stay and not pay. However, as states begin to open back up for business there appears to be light at the end of this tunnel. Still, expect a host of retailers to file for protection in July and August to eliminate stores and try to renegotiate rents.

Although we normally provide a list of 10 retailers to watch, we have increased the list to 20 given the current state of affairs. Following are the top 20 to retailers to watch for possible Chapter 11 filing(s) in the remaining year:


Continue Reading 20 Retailers to Watch for a Bankruptcy Filing in the Second Half of 2020

Earth Fare, Inc., the 45-year old natural and organic grocery chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday in Delaware under docket number 20-10256. The Debtor operates more than 53 grocery stores throughout the Southeast, mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

The company is privately held and backed by private equity firms Oak Hill Capital Partners and Green Capital Partners. The Wall Street Journal and the Motley Fool report that the Debtor plans to close all stores.


Continue Reading Earth Fare Files for Liquidating Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The lawsuits just keep coming… last week, Chapter 11 Debtor, Sears Holdings Corporation (“Sears”) continued to file hundreds of preference complaints to recover money from paid pre-petition creditors. The Debtor filed a mass of suits back in November 2019.

For most creditors, it makes no sense that they receive a complaint to return money for goods or services sold prior to October 15, 2018, when the company filed for bankruptcy protection. However, the Federal Bankruptcy Code allows a debtor to recover “preferences” in bankruptcy – 11 U.S.C. 547.

If you are a trade creditor who received a complaint, before you open the check book to Sears, know what defenses there are to this statutory claim.


Continue Reading Sears Continues to File Hundreds of Preference Suits Against Trade Creditors

Retail and restaurant Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings continued to grab headlines in 2019. According to CNBC, there were 23 retail bankruptcies in 2019, compared with 17 in 2018.

Six (6) retailers and one (1) restaurant chain that were on our “Watch List” in 2019 filed for Chapter 11 protection – Charming Charlie (Part 2), Forever 21, Payless (Part 2), Charlotte Russe, Things Remembered, Gymboree (Part 2), and Perkins & Marie Callender.

As the New Year unfolds, following are 10 retailers to watch for possible Chapter 11 filing(s) in the year ahead.


Continue Reading Retailers to Watch for a Bankruptcy Filing in 2020

This past week, Chapter 11 debtor Sears Holdings Corporation (“Sears”) filed hundreds of preference complaints to recover money from paid pre-petition creditors.

For most creditors, it must seem odd to be receiving a complaint to return money for goods or services sold prior to October 15, 2018 (the date when Sears filed for bankruptcy protection). However, the practice of recovering “preferences” in bankruptcy is allowed by federal statute – 11 U.S.C. 547. Before you go a writing a check to Sears, know what defenses you have against this statutory claim.


Continue Reading Sears Wants It’s Money Back… Debtor Filing Preference Complaints Against Trade Creditors

Destination Maternity Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday in Delaware under docket number 19-12256.

The large maternity-wear retailer owns approximately 458 U.S. stores comprised of 362 Motherhood Maternity Stores, 26 Pea in the Pod stores, and 70 Destination Maternity stores.


Continue Reading Destination Maternity Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Perkins-Marie-Callenders-logos-bankruptcyPerkins & Marie Callender’s LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this morning in Delaware under docket number 19-11743.

The Memphis, Tenn. family-dining chain previously filed in 2011. Prior to filing, the company operated more than 400 locations in the two brands, including 400 Perkins Restaurant & Bakery locations (134 company and 266 franchised) and 38 Marie Callender’s restaurants (8 company and 30 franchised.


Continue Reading Perkins & Marie Callender Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Charming Charlie, the teen jeweler and accessory retailer, filed its second Chapter 11 bankruptcy case in less than two (2) years this morning in Delaware under docket number 19-11534.

This Chapter 22, which is the filing of two (2) Chapter 11 bankruptcies in a short period of time, appears to mark the end of the retailer. It lists in its filings that it has plans to close all 261 stores. The company emerged from its prior Chapter 11 bankruptcy, where it shed about 100 stores, only 14 months ago. According to USA Today, the company expects to vacate its stores by August 31, 2019.


Continue Reading Charming Charlie Bankruptcy: Retailer Files for Second Chapter 11 Bankruptcy