All good things must come to an end, and sometimes that applies to businesses, too. Products you once loved get yanked off shelves, and brands you once wore suddenly shut down for good. The constant changes can be hard to keep track of, especially in a tough business climate like today’s so-called retail apocalypse.
From global corporations that are no more (RIP, Payless) to short-lived inventions (we’re looking at you, Amazon Fire Phone), here’s a close look at some of the products and brands you can no longer buy.
This kid’s clothing brand is technically still around, but won’t be available for much longer. The children’s clothing retailer Gymboree Group Inc. once operated over 1,200 specialty retail stores of kids’ apparel, including affordable options Gymboree and Crazy 8 and higher-end brands like Janie and Jack. But declining sales over the last several years led the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-January.
Soon after, the company announced that it would shut down all of its 800 Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores throughout the U.S. and Canada. Online sales for both of those brands have halted, although the final weeks of liquidation sales are still ongoing in certain brick and mortar locations. Meanwhile, all Janie and Jack assets have been sold to Gap Inc.
Amazon Fire Phone
Amazon doesn’t miss the mark all that often, but the company’s Fire Phone is widely considered one of its biggest failures. The product marked Amazon’s first foray into the smartphone market and seemed to have plenty of potential, but it couldn’t keep up with its competitors and, after receiving some initial interest among consumers, sales for the phone rapidly declined. Amazon ceased production of the Fire Phone in August 2015 and discontinued sales soon after, although you can still find some stragglers on eBay.
Starting April 30, Charlotte Russe will be no more. All ’90s kids and their parents will remember this affordable women’s clothing store as a one-time mall staple. But like many other retailers in recent years, the company couldn’t keep up with digital competitors and sales continued to decline. The brand will officially shut down at the end of the month, closing all of its more than 500 nationwide stores. The decision comes after 100 stores already shuttered following an earlier closure announcement. Online sales have also ended.
Bad news for cyclists: One of the nation’s largest bike retailers has shut down for good. All 104 locations of Performance Bicycle have been shuttered this year, with the last closure scheduled on March 2. Parent company Advanced Sports Enterprises filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall. Though the corporation initially hoped to save at least half of the discount chain’s locations with renegotiated leases, it ultimately opted to fold the brand altogether.
After over a century in business, the iconic luxury brand has officially shuttered. All two dozen of its nationwide stores closed in early 2019. Parent company L Brands announced in fall 2018 that Bendel’s website and locations — including the iconic Fifth Avenue location in New York — would shut its doors. The flagship location held a closeout sale that drew a frenzy of customers in its final weeks.
Toys ‘R’ Us
For many people, Toys “R” Us is a name synonymous with childhood — one that reminds you of the many times you begged your mom to go inside and “just look” at that cool new toy in the window. Sadly, the days of being a Toys “R” Us kid are over — at least for now. After filing for bankruptcy in September 2017, the company closed all 735 of its U.S. stores less than a year later. The closings prompted a massive response on social media, with users mourning the loss of the iconic toy chain.
But there may still be hope. There’s recently been some talk that the brand could be making a comeback, potentially under a different name.
Babies ‘R’ Us
Toys “R” Us’ sister brand, Babies “R” Us, also shuttered its doors in June 2018. The company was once the leading retailer of baby gear in the U.S., but had seen a decline in sales and customers in recent years, likely due to the rise of online shopping among consumers. With Toys “R” Us plotting a comeback, there’s been speculation that this brand could also come back to life sometime in the future.
Scion was the Toyota Motor Corporation’s attempt to create a car brand that would appeal to young shoppers. The company launched Scion as a marquee brand in 2003, introducing several new models, like the compact Scion xB and sporty Scion tC. However, after a few years of facing stiff competition and declining sales, Toyota decided to phase out Scion cars in 2016.
As in the case of Payless and Charlotte Russe, you won’t be able to shop Shopko by the beginning of the summer. The discount retailer, based in Wisconsin, will shut down all of its over 350 stores by June. The move comes just months after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and scheduled an auction for its assets. The auction was later canceled and the retailer announced it would liquidate all of its assets and shut down its brick-and-mortar locations instead.
These days, you’d be hard-pressed to go a full block without finding someone who has a Keurig. The company’s single-pod coffee machines are widely used in businesses and residences everywhere. So you can sort of see why they’d try to branch out and launch an at-home soda machine. Unfortunately for them, the Keurig Kold didn’t land, partly because of the $370 price tag. Keurig ended up axing the product just nine months after its debut.
But apparently, that hasn’t deterred the company from continuing to experiment. Keurig just announced it’s working on a similar machine for cocktails.
Sports Authority was once the nation’s largest sporting goods retailer, but the company was forced to close all of its stores in 2016, shortly after filing for bankruptcy. The brand initially planned to close only 140 of its 450 stores and sell the remaining locations to a buyer. After failing to find a buyer for its assets, the company shuttered its doors entirely.
Fans of the original Coke Zero were left disappointed in 2017 when Coca-Cola announced plans to discontinue the product. The company pulled Coke Zero from shelves that summer and replaced it with a new beverage: Coke Zero Sugar, which boasted not just a different design and name, but a different formula. Though Coke Zero sales grew in the U.S. in the year prior to the decision, Coke Zero Sugar proved to be a major hit overseas, leading the company to bring it stateside.
After this spring, customers looking for an affordable pair of shoes will have to go somewhere other than Payless. The company, which once made up to $3.4 billion in revenue, is shutting down all of its stores (more than 2,500 total) in 2019. The retail locations are currently holding liquidation sales to get rid of their merchandise. Though some are staying open through May, others will close at the end of March.
The A&P chain of grocery stories was once considered an American icon, labeled by many as the original Walmart. The chain, known for its innovation back in the day, helped usher in a new era of improved nutrition by offering a more extensive assortment of foods to the masses at lower costs. However, the grocery brand suffered several ups and downs over the years, declining in popularity in the ’70s, regaining profitability in the ’80s and so on.
It regained some traction after purchasing Pathmark in 2007 but filed for bankruptcy by 2010. Eventually overrun by more modern competitors like Whole Foods and Kroger, the business shuttered its stores in 2015.
The department store originated in Pennsylvania with an iconic flagship store in downtown Pittsburgh. At its peak, the regional chain operated several dozen stores across five states in the eastern U.S. In 2006, Federated Department Stores, the parent company to Macy’s, bought the company’s assets and converted many of its stores, not including the Pittsburgh location. However, the flagship store was also eventually closed and sold in 2015. It has since been redeveloped into a multi-use building, including apartments and a hotel.
Those who still have a Windows phone may want to trade it in for an iOS or Android device. In January 2019, Microsoft announced that it would shut down support for Windows 10 Mobile starting on December 10, 2019. This comes over a year after the company announced that work on Windows 10 Mobile was drawing to a close. Though meant to offer unification of software and services to loyal PC users, the system failed to garner much interest in the smartphone marketplace.
While you may still be able to find certain Windows phones for purchase online, they may not function properly for much longer, and no continued updates will be available.
Crystal Pepsi, a caffeine-free, clear version of the soda, originally hit shelves for a brief period in the ’90s. At the time, the company advertised it as a healthier alternative to traditional Pepsi (spoiler alert: It’s not really much healthier). But it didn’t take long for Pepsi discontinued the product.
However, the drink apparently still piques interest from the public, as Pepsi continues to bring it back in limited runs on occasion. In 2017, the company relaunched the beverage for a short time, along with a series of retro concerts featuring Busta Rhymes and Salt-N-Pepa. Though no longer sold in stores, you can sometimes find it for sale (for inflated prices) online.
Suzuki has previously ranked in the top 10 of the world’s automakers, but the reputation of its motorcycles far outweighs that of its cars. Its limited product line has caused the brand to deal with struggling car sales for years, particularly in the U.S. After a big push behind the mid-size Kizashi sedan flopped, American Suzuki filed for bankruptcy in November 2012, and production ceased shortly after. The company continues to operate overseas.
Borders Group, the intentional book and music retailer, once oversaw over 500 Borders superstores across the United States and 175 Waldenbooks specialty stores. But though the brand was popular in the early 2000s, sales began rapidly plummeting after 2006. Over the next several years, the book retailer tried to find a buyer and made several changes to its board of executives, but could not get the company back on track. It filed for bankruptcy in 2011, and all business operations ceased that same year.
Heinz EZ Squirt Colored Ketchup
When it comes to condiments, there’s no brand more iconic than Heinz. But believe it or not, not all of its ketchup has been a hit. In 2000, Heinz rolled out a vibrant, green-colored version in support of the new “Shrek” movie. Of course, kids loved it at first, and company sales quickly skyrocketed. But the enthusiasm didn’t last long. As the interest in the movie died down, so did the interest in the neon-colored ketchup. And despite Heinz’s efforts to replicate its initial success with other colors (including blue, orange and purple), the product was discontinued in 2006.
In October 2010, Sony announced it would stop production of its cassette Walkman after 30 years. It was the end of an era for the company, which first began manufacturing the product in 1979 and went to sell over 200 million throughout several decades. The Walkman underwent several iterations over time, including a colorful version and a waterproof model. While there’s little to no demand for cassettes, let alone cassette players, these days, many still found it sad to see the once-beloved music player go.
Galaxy Note 7
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was considered by many to be a decent phone model — until worldwide reports of the batteries failing and the phones catching fire started to roll in. The company opted to “permanently discontinue” the model in 2016 following an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the issues. Samsung told mobile carriers to stop sales of the device and asked owners to shut off and return their phones. Luckily for loyal fans of the Galaxy Note, the company has since released newer, updated models, including the Galaxy Note 8 and 9.
Google was hoping to revolutionize the world when it unveiled the original Google Glass in 2012. But though the product may have sprouted some impressive technology, it came at an absurd $1,500 price tag. Not to mention that the product spurred widespread privacy concerns. Now you’d be hard-pressed to find an original model for sale anywhere other than eBay. But Google Glass apparently still lives on in the company, with newer iterations tapping into AI technology.
In March 2019, Icelandic budget carrier Wow Air abruptly ceased operations and canceled its flights. The airline announced the closure in a statement posted to its website, advising stranded passengers to book new flights on other airlines. The airline, known for its cheap trans-Atlantic fares, is the latest to suffer from financial problems due to intense competition and changing business strategies in the industry.
The PlayStation Vita is now a thing of the past. In March 2019, it was revealed that Sony had discontinued production of the portable video game console, which launched in December 2011 as a replacement for the PlayStation Portable. Though it offered a healthy array of games, the model never really caught on during its seven-year run, particularly as smartphones overtook other devices in popularity. The company reportedly has no current plans for a successor.