American Apparel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning. The once-hip retailer popularized metallic spandex leggings and made-in-LA t-shirts in the early 2000s but has struggled with waning sales and tumbling stock prices. The company warned investors in August that it might not have the funds needed to meet its debt obligations.
Chapter 11 protection should allow American Apparel to keep open its Los Angeles manufacturing centers and 130 retail stores while it undergoes a debt-for-equity conversion. The company's current troubles are just one more reminder of how unfavorable market forces, poor planning, and questionable (to put it mildly) leadership can tank a promising company.