In a survey conducted in November, 40% of retail executives said they expect bankruptcy filings in the sector to increase in 2018, according to a new report from accounting and consulting firm BDO. Another 54% of executives said they expect the level of bankruptcy filings to stay consistent with last year, which surpassed 2008 in retail bankruptcies. The year has already seen four major retail bankruptcies, including that of department store Bon-Ton. Others, including Claire’s and Nine West, are said to be readying filings, and there are many more at risk. The report authors pointed out that rising consumer debt levels, combined with anticipated interest rate rises, “may put the brakes on consumer spending as consumers pay down credit card tabs.” In turn, distressed retailers with large debt loads were likely to face higher interest payments, “limiting their ability to remodel stores to adapt to changing consumer preferences or to develop more meaningful in-store experience offerings and services,” according to the report. Read more at Retail Dive.