8. Sports Authority
After 29 years in business, Sports Authority filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March 2, 2016 with more than $1 billion in debt. At the time, the sporting goods store planned on closing 140 of its more than 450 stores, or approximately one in three locations nationwide. After failing to reorganize under bankruptcy protection, however, Sports Authority has been forced to close all of its stores. The company’s inventory was sold to three liquidators, who ran the retailer’s final going-out-of-business sales. The Sports Authority brand was sold to Dick’s Sporting Goods, who bought the company name and other intellectual property for $15 million at an auction that took place in June.
Sports Authority is one of a number of dying sporting goods brands. Vestis Retail Group, the parent company of Eastern Mountain Sports, Bob’s Stores, and Sport Chalet, filed for bankruptcy in April. City Sports filed for bankruptcy last December. As e-commerce increasingly becomes the preferred method of shopping, and trends such as athleisure become more popular, sporting good brands that cannot adapt are likely to disappear as well.
9. Yik Yak
Once one of the fastest growing social networks, Yik Yak is currently experiencing declining usership and corporate downsizing. Yik Yak is a location-based message board that allows app users to post anonymously. The format lent itself naturally to college campuses, where users could gossip and spread information about current events. Not long after Yik Yak secured $62 million in funding and a $400 million valuation, its user base began to slip. While Yik Yak was the third most downloaded iOS app in the United States in September 2014, by April 2016 Yik Yak had fallen outside of top 1,000. Yik Yak’s chief technology officer left around the same time, and in December the company laid off about 60% of its workforce.
According to some observers, changes to the app’s interface and function helped cement its decline. While anonymity was key to the app’s early success, in March 2016 Yik Yak began to require that users create a username in order to post. Though users could still choose to post anonymously after creating a username, the obligation to create a username represented the incongruity between Yik Yak’s leadership and its users. The app shows no signs of a comeback and is not likely to make it past 2017.
10. Time Warner Cable
In May, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications completed one of the many recent mergers among content and data service providers. The structure and ownership of the major cable and satellite companies have been shuffling for years, driven in part by the increasing popularity of internet-based movie and television streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, HBO Go, and HBO Now. Following the merger, the name of what was the second largest cable company in the United States behind Comcast, has officially changed to Spectrum. The elimination of the Time Warner Cable brand likely stems from its extremely poor customer service reputation. Any remaining signs of the old Time Warner Cable brand on company merchandise, vehicles, and the website will likely vanish by the end of 2017.