As 2017 draws to a close, the annual reckoning of which brands will disappear in the coming year is upon us. The fate of a brand depends on brand mismanagement, the whims of the marketplace, and the determination by corporate big-shots as to whether a brand stays or goes.
Each year, 24/7 Wall St. identifies 10 American brands we predict will disappear in the coming year. Factors we consider include declining sales and losses; disclosure by the parent company it might discontinue the brand; rising costs that are unlikely to be recouped through higher prices; sales or mergers of companies; businesses that will likely go into bankruptcy, or from bankruptcy into liquidation; companies that have lost the great majority of their customers; and operations with dwindling market share.
Most of these examples represent some failure, either in the company or the brand, and sometimes in both. Some of the brands on this list are already certain to disappear, with just the last remnants left to dissolve next year. Others are on their way to vanishing, though their destinies will depend on what happens next year.
It is a challenge for companies to maintain the strength of a brand. Sometimes businesses make decisions that jeopardize the integrity of the brand. While not on the list, Major League Baseball team the Miami Marlins has struggled with its brand for years as various owners have sold off or traded pricey players who were the top performers. This has angered the fanbase, who question the team’s commitment to winning. In the past, Marlins fans have reacted to these moves by staying away from home games and not buying team merchandise.
The brands on this list include automakers, retailers, media companies, television properties, and insurance companies.
Car companies and retailers routinely appear on lists of endangered brands, though for different reasons. Car makers such as General Motors have jettisoned brands such as Pontiac, which lasted for 83 years but had recently fallen out of favor among younger consumers who preferred imports. Infiniti did not wait that long to discontinue the QX70. The vehicle, introduced in 2003, will be discontinued in 2018. Even though sales had been increasing, they were not rising fast enough.
The reason behind the demise of certain retail brands in recent years, on the other hand, has been the shift to online commerce away from brick-and-mortar stores. But it is not the only reason. In the case of Men’s Wearhouse, parent Tailored Brands bought men’s clothier Jos. A. Bank to reduce costs only to become saddled with debt. The move was made against the advice of Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer.
Another way brands disappear is through a merger or if they are purchased. That might be the fate of Aetna, which agreed to be bought by neighborhood drugstore chain CVS for $69 billion in early December.
These are the brands 24/7 Wall St. predicts will disappear in 2018.