Readers’ Choice: Bankruptcy Aftershock

The collapse of Wall Street and the sudden halt in consumer spending took a dire toll on the global fashion industry this year, as even more companies on all sides of the marketplace declared bankruptcy. Among them were stores such as Gottschalks and The Walking Co., brands including Yohji Yamamoto and mall owners such as General Growth Properties Inc. However, the failure of finance firm CIT Group Inc. — the fifth-largest in U.S. history — had the biggest effect on business, according to 45 percent of respondents in the Footwear News survey. CIT began struggling in July, after which it received a nearly $3 billion loan from the federal government and was even offered assistance from financier Carl Icahn for a $6 billion handout. But the cash influx wasn’t enough to prevent the company from filing Chapter 11 in early November. After a short restructuring period, it emerged from bankruptcy on Dec. 10 with plans to commit half a billion dollars to its small business lending group.

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