10 Companies We Lost In The Last Decade


Narrator: In the last 10
years, the retail apocalypse has taken out a lot of
once beloved brands. Reporter: Close 53 stores this year. News Anchor: Where are the
teenagers shopping today? Narrator: While some of
these companies’ futures remain unclear, others
are completely dead. Here are 10 companies that
fell in the past decade. Payless was once the largest
family-owned footwear chain in the United States. The company peaked in the 1990s, selling 250 million shoes a year. Its self-service strategy had customers shop for shoes themselves, allowing the company
to employ fewer people and save on operating costs. Plus, with most shoes costing $3 or less when it launched in the
’50s, about $25 today, Payless was a bargain
compared to other retailers. But Payless didn’t count on competition from discount retailers
like Target and Walmart, which quickly rose in
popularity throughout the 2000s. And once online retailers
like Zappos began to dominate, Payless’ sales struggled. In 2017, Payless officially
filed for bankruptcy. Two years later, the company filed again and announced that it would
close all of its stores. At its height in 2004, Blockbuster
employed 60,000 people. With more than 9,000 locations globally, the movie rental giant was
worth about $5 billion. But a mix of bad leadership
and competition from Netflix, Redbox, and video on demand
spelled the end for Blockbuster. In 2010, it filed for bankruptcy
with $1 billion in debt. At the time, it was the last remaining video rental chain in the US. In 2011, Dish Network acquired Blockbuster’s remaining
assets for about $320 million and two years later, Dish began closing all
remaining stores in the US. But there’s still one store left. A privately owned
Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon is the last remaining in the
world and still going strong. Recent nostalgia for ’80s and ’90s brands has renewed interest in Blockbuster. In 2019, apparel brand Dumbgood released a collection of
Blockbuster-themed merchandise and hosted pop-up shops in
Los Angeles and New York City. Borders was an international book retailer headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A book behemoth, Borders and
its Waldenbooks subsidiary had locations in airports, outlet malls, and shopping plazas. But the retailer made a huge mistake when it prioritized expanding
its brick-and-mortar stores instead of its online presence. Plus, Borders didn’t have an e-reader as popular as Barnes & Nobles’
Nook or Amazon’s Kindle to keep the company
alive in the digital age. In 2011, Borders filed for bankruptcy. At the time, it had 650 stores. The last store was liquidated
and closed in September 2011. As a final nail in the coffin, that same year, Barnes & Noble purchased Borders’ customer
list and trademark. At one point, Sports Authority was the largest retailer for
sporting goods in the US. But as the decade continued, it just couldn’t match competition from the higher-end Dick’s Sporting Goods and they couldn’t keep
up with online purchases made on Amazon or directly
with sports leagues. In March 2016, Sports
Authority filed for bankruptcy with a huge debt load. It had 14,500 employees at the time. That same year, the chain closed all of its stores nationwide. Founded in 2004, Charming Charlie was a mainstay of American
malls in the 2000s. At its height, the accessories chain had almost 400 stores around the world. But by 2017, it fell victim to what the chief financial officer called the “continuing decline of
physical consumer traffic.” It filed for bankruptcy
and closed 100 stores. After a successful
financial restructuring, the company emerged
from bankruptcy in 2018. But it wasn’t enough. A year later, Charming
Charlie filed again, saying it only had $6,000 in cash left. The company stopped website sales and announced it would be
closing all of its 260 stores. The high-end children’s clothing brand started the decade off great, with 950 stores across the US in 2010. But that year things turned sour. A private equity firm bought
Gymboree for $1.8 billion. The new leadership quickly
opened 400 stores overseas. But that rapid expansion
just wasn’t sustainable. Spread too thin, the
company filed for bankruptcy in June 2017 and closed 375 stores. Gymboree took the chance to reorganize and came out of bankruptcy
in September 2017, after shaving $1 billion in debt. But it didn’t stick. Sales from The Children’s Place, Gap, and TJ Maxx far outpaced Gymboree’s. The company could no longer support its “cost and capital structure.” In 2019, Gymboree filed
for bankruptcy again and began closing all of its 800 stores. In March of that year, rival retailer The Children’s Place
bought the Gymboree brand. Founded in 1859 in New York, A&P was the largest grocery
store chain in the US from 1915 to 1975. A&P was able to offer lower prices than traditional grocery stores
by purchasing large amounts of inventory from manufacturers. It further cut costs by getting
into manufacturing directly, allowing the company to control nearly all aspects of
the grocery business. However, by the 1970s,
A&P’s stores were outdated compared to its competitors, who were opening up
even larger supermarkets with modern features. Over the next few decades, specialized grocery brands like
Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s began to dominate the grocery market. After failing to keep up with new trends and connect with consumers, A&P found itself with a reputation
for poor customer service and high operating costs. And the Great Recession further tanked A&P’s already falling sales. In 2010, the chain filed
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but it emerged as a private company that briefly became profitable until 2014. But sales fell again, and the company reported
a loss of $305 million for its 2014 fiscal year. A&P filed for bankruptcy a second time and closed all of its stores. Wow Air became popular
after its inception in 2011 for offering ultra-cheap flights from the US to Europe,
often for less than $200. In 2018, the Icelandic airline employed more than 1,000
people, had 11 aircraft, and transported about
3.5 million passengers. However, the budget airline
struggled with profitability, likely because of a combination
of rising fuel costs and a decrease in tourist visits
to Iceland in recent years. On March 28th, 2019, Wow
Air suddenly announced it was ceasing all operations, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. CEO Skuli Mogensen confirmed
that over 1,000 people would be impacted. Wow Air once flew in over 1/4
of all visitors to Iceland and after its unexpected shutdown, Iceland saw a notable decline
in its tourism industry and an increase in unemployment. Henri Bendel founded his
namesake store in 1895, and the brand and
retailer became a pioneer in the world of luxury fashion. Bendel is credited as the person who first sold Coco
Chanel’s designs in the US and the person who discovered Andy Warhol. And thanks to Jackie Kennedy, the Henri Bendel flagship
store in New York has landmark status. Bendel’s was acquired by L Brands in 1985 and continued setting the standard for luxury retailers everywhere, becoming the first retailer
to host in-store makeovers and in-store fashion shows. However, L Brands
announced in September 2018 it would be closing all
23 Henri Bendel stores and ending the brand to
improve company profitability and focus on larger brands that have greater growth potential. The 124-year-old brand
had ceased to be relevant to consumers, and it showed. Despite its once iconic status, Henri Bendel lost more than $45 million in operating costs in 2018. Toys R Us began as a single store in 1948 and grew to become the
first big box toy store. Its growth coincided with
the rise of iconic toys like Barbie dolls and Mr. Potato Head, as well as TV commercials, which helped build Toys R
Us’ highly successful brand. Commercial: Toys R Us time of year. Toys R Us. Narrator: Thanks to Toys R Us, the toy industry’s worth grew
from $500 million in 1950 to $12 billion in 1990. At its peak, the company controlled a quarter of the global toy market and was selling 18,000 different toys in over 1,000 different stores. But thanks to a combination
of changing tastes in toys, going private in 2005, a failed buyout, its stores becoming dated, and the eventual rise of e-commerce, Toys R Us began to struggle. Competition from big
box stores like Walmart and Target quickly overtook Toys R Us, hurting the once dominant
retailer’s already shaky sales. However, the biggest
factor behind its demise was Toys R Us’ growing debt. Over the years, Toys R Us
owed more and more money and ended up devoting
much of its resources towards paying off that debt until finally declaring
bankruptcy in 2017. At the time, Toys R Us
owed more than $5 billion. However, Toys R Us isn’t completely gone. Tru Kids Brands purchased
the company’s assets in October 2018 and announced
plans to bring back the brand. In November 2019, Toys R Us
opened a new retail store in Paramus, New Jersey. While we’ve seen a lot of iconic companies fall in the 2010s, our eyes
are on the struggling brands that might just make a
comeback in the coming decade.

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100 thoughts on “10 Companies We Lost In The Last Decade

  1. We still have a Toys R Us in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. They have had to half their store size, do not turn on the lights, and don't have air conditioning. It's depressing and still the most expensive place to buy toys.

  2. yall like “toys R us close oh noo”
    in my opinion it was just over priced junk, although i admit i been to a toys R us store as a kid. i quickly learned it was a trap for kids and stupid parents so i never went back.

  3. Toys r us has lots of commercial like winter to spring
    70s
    90s
    2000s
    2010s black friday commercial
    In 2014 it was real life toys i love kmart and sears
    I miss kmart commercial

  4. Toys R us was my Most Favorite Toy place ever! But when I heard it was Bankrupd.. I literally cried All day long and wished it would come back in the future..😭
    Goodbye Toys R us..

  5. Why Payless is still open in my country and selling millions? Because it's the most affordable option here. We have a Walmart but we don't have a Target (I wish).

  6. I miss the borders at my mall. Once it closed no one knew what to do with all the space. They were my favorite place to read manga and get a coffee or pastry.

  7. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods do not dominate the grocery market… they dominate the upper and upper middle class grocery market. You won’t find them in a large, but non-affluent city, but you’ll find them in rich but possibly small towns.

  8. On Apple maps it says the last Blockbuster is closing soon.
    I'm not sad since I only heard of Blockbusters for the first time less than a week ago.

  9. Payless, Boarders, Toys R Us, Sears, Sports Authority were my childhood :,( I even said when I was little “if I have kids, I will take them here especially Toys R Us” 😭😭😭😭

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