Fashion brands — including several LA retailers — are dying off as consumer habits change – Los Angeles Times

American Apparel bit the dust. So did Nasty Gal. BCBG Max Azria filed for bankruptcy, along with teen retailer Wet Seal.

The fashion industry has long been a fickle beast, with trends rising and dying sometimes in the space of weeks. But changing consumer habits — including the emergence of e-commerce and the decline of traffic at many malls — is further shortening the life cycle for many fashion brands, analysts said.

“Thirty years ago, you didn’t have to adapt as fast,” said Ron Friedman, a retail expert at accounting and advisory firm Marcum. “The retail environment is completely going through a revolution. Your normal brick-and-mortars are restructuring. Brands are going out of style.”

Faced with seismic changes, bankruptcies in the retail sector have been on the rise. In 2012, three retail companies with liabilities of $50 million or more filed for bankruptcy, according to a study by consulting firm AlixPartners. Eight retail bankruptcies occurred in 2014 — a number that had already been reached just six months into 2015, the last year analyzed in the study (although that still pales to 20 bankruptcies in 2008 during the height of the recession).

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