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Reproduced from Moody's Investors Service; Table: Axios Visuals

Retailer J. Crew's Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing Monday "is likely the first of many companies to restructure in- or out-of-court in the next one to two years," S&P Global Ratings analysts warn in a new report.

Driving the news: J. Crew is the eighth debt-issuing retail and restaurant company to default on its debt this year, equaling the total from all of 2019 in just over four months, S&P notes.

  • "We expect the economic shutdown and lingering social distancing behaviors to trigger a broad shakeout of retail," S&P Global Ratings analyst Sarah E. Wyeth writes in the report.
  • "The industry needs to meaningfully reduce its physical footprint and rapidly evolve to reach the post-pandemic consumer."

What's happening: Ratings agencies S&P, Fitch and Moody's have been slashing retail companies' credit ratings as their debt levels rise and income streams dry up because of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • About 30% of the approximately 125 issuers S&P rates in the retail and restaurant sectors now hold credit ratings that imply at least a 1-in-2 chance of default.

It gets deeper: A record high 412 companies are now rated B3-negative or lower by Moody's, a rating equivalent to B- by S&P and Fitch, and well-below investment grade.

  • That number is up from 311 last month and more than double the number of companies rated this low in 2019.
  • It's also 42% above the high of 291 touched during the financial crisis, Moody's says.

Go deeper: Envision Healthcare considering bankruptcy

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Aug 12, 2020 - Health

The two sides of America's coronavirus response

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

America's bungled political and social response to the coronavirus exists side-by-side with a record-breaking push to create a vaccine with U.S. companies and scientists at the center.

Why it matters: America's two-sided response serves as an X-ray of the country itself — still capable of world-beating feats at the high end, but increasingly struggling with what should be the simple business of governing itself.

The pandemic is hitting city budgets harder than the Great Recession

Expand chart
Data: National League of Cities; Chart: Axios Visuals

With tax revenue in free-fall and expenditures dramatically rising, the coronavirus pandemic is on pace to hit cities' finances even harder than the Great Recession.

Why it matters: Almost all cities are required to balance their budgets, and at this rate they'll have no choice but to cut more services, layoff or furlough more workers and freeze capital projects.

Updated 22 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to mandate vaccines for anyone who crosses borders starting in January — Shots lagged data by months — The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort.
  2. Health: The Thanksgiving bouncers — Axios-Ipsos poll: Thanksgiving roulette — Experts criticize CDC's language on vaccine boosters — America's Thanksgiving gamble.
  3. Politics: Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate — Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid surge.
  4. Education: A COVID strategy backfires at schools — Schools across the U.S. offer vaccine drivesBenefits of in-person school outweigh risks, study finds.
  5. World: EU drug regulator recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids — Italy announces new COVID restrictions for unvaccinated people — European health agency urges expanding booster shot access.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.