The number of distressed U.S. retailers has tripled since the Great Recession and now stands at the highest level since the end of the downturn, according to a recent Moody’s Investors Service report. These companies are grappling with intense competition, “erratic management” and limited financial flexibility, Moody’s said. The 19 retail and clothing companies on the distressed list include Sears and Kmart owner Sears Holdings, J. Crew, Payless, Claire’s, Rue21 and True Religion. The report is a sobering reminder of the consequences of the rise of e-commerce, especially Amazon. “It’s been a downward spiral for traditional retailers,” said Christian Magoon, CEO of Amplify ETFs, which last year launched a fund that tracks online-focused retailers. “The model of online retailers is winning out. They are more competitive on pricing, they have better selection, and their convenience level is quite high,” Magoon said. Online retailers are also free of the substantial real-estate and labor costs that weigh down brick-and-mortar stores. Recent weeks have provided new evidence of the struggles of traditional retail. Sears stock recently plunged to an all-time low, JCPenney announced plans to shutter up to 140 stores, and Target shocked Wall Street with terrible holiday sales. All that comes on the heels of tens of thousands of retail layoffs and the bankruptcies of RadioShack and Sports Authority over the past two years. It’s no wonder the Amplify Online Retail ETF has vastly outperformed its physical peers. The online ETF is up 18% since its debut last April, compared with a 4% decline for the broader SPDR S&P Retail ETF, which tracks mostly traditional retailers. So will more retailers go the way of RadioShack? See more at CNN.