Failure is Always an Option: 3 Retailers that Disappeared

You think you’ve made it. Your business is on top and been up there for awhile. You’ve diversified, you have franchises. But, here are 3 retailers who found out that failure is always an option, and what you can learn from it.

1. Blockbuster

Always Blockbuster. Poor, poor Blockbuster. In 2002, Blockbuster was valued at $5 billion. It had even become synonymous with renting a movie. If you wanted to rent a movie for the weekend, you asked if anyone wanted to go to Blockbuster, even if you were going to Hollywood Video. Blockbuster filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2010.

What went wrong:

Netflix and Redbox came and pushed them out of the market.

What can you learn:

Always be ready to embrace new technologies, especially if your company’s product is technology. Evolve or perish.

2. K. B. Toys

When it filed for bankruptcy in 2008, K.B. Toys was the leading mail-based toy retailer, but even then it only represented a small percentage of the United States toy market.

What went wrong:

Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon had better prices.

What can you learn:

Downsizing is not a four-letter word. If you’re good at something, don’t be afraid to try and be the best at it. If K.B. Toys had focused on it’s mail order sales while decreasing it’s brick-and-mortar presence, would it still be around? If it had embraced Amazon’s Marketplace, or eBay would it have sold more through the mail? Maybe not. But, it’s something to think about.

3. Woolworths

In 1997, after 117 years, the last Woolworths closed its doors. It wasn’t all failure, though. The Woolworth Corporation changed its name to Venator Group and still operates some retail stores, including Foot Locker and Northern Reflections.

What went wrong:

Again, lower prices at Wal-Mart and Target helped to bury Woolworths. However, America moving out of the cities and into the suburbs was the first shovelful of dirt in the grave. As America left the city, tastes changed. And one of those tastes was a distinct lack of interest in what Woolworths had to offer.

What you can learn:

Sometimes, the market disappears.

Do you know of a company that failed? What can be learned from their failure? Share in the comments below.

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Posted on August 4, 2014, in Biz Tips, Entrepreneur, Small Business and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Great article! It was not too long ago that when a Blockbuster came to town that often resulted in the closure of the local video store small business.

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