Struggling retailers will look to their real estate portfolios to help ease debt loads in the coming year. Several retailers, including American Apparel (NYSE: APP), RadioShack (NYSE: RSH), J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) and Sears (NYSE: SHLD), may wind up in bankruptcy because of distress in various areas of the companies.

Retailers are particularly prone to distress because of the volatility of the sector. Some retailers have already used Chapter 11 as an opportunity to restructure their real estate assets in 2014. In April, retailer Coldwater Creek filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and ended up selling store leases for about $1.7 million to pay back creditors.

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