Brands That Died This Decade
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Decade Dead Zone: Brands, Stores, and Products That Have Disappeared

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Brands That Died This Decade
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Changing Times

It's been a rough decade for traditional brands. What's now called the Retail Apocalypse began in 2010, thanks to rising rents, the dominance of Amazon, changes in bargain shopping, overexpansion, and the delayed effects of the great recession. Even successful brands, though, have had flops — much-anticipated products have disappeared or gone out in (sometimes literal) flames.

Related: 30 Beloved Restaurants and Bars That Closed This Year

Toys R US
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Toys R US

Once synonymous with "a child's dream land," Toys R Us announced plans in March 2018 to close all of its U.S. and British stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017. Before we all mourn the loss of our childhoods, though, there's some good news. The brand announced in October 2018 that it would relaunch, and has now reemerged as Tru Kids.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7
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Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Those literal flames we mentioned? You can thank the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which was formally banned on airplanes due to being a fire hazard. The problem was the lack of space between the battery's heat-sealed protective pouch and its internals. So, when things went terribly wrong, it caused electrodes inside each battery to short circuit.

Related: Dangerous Products That Had to Be Recalled

Amazon Fire Phone
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Amazon Fire Phone

It may sometimes feel like Amazon is taking over the world, but even Amazon has its flops. The Amazon Fire phone, which ran on Android, was released in 2014. It was discontinued in 2015. Turns out, sales were poor and Amazon ended up with $83 million worth of Fire Phones it couldn't sell.

Circuit City
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Circuit City

Circuit City was successful in the '80s and '90s, but became complacent. The out-of-the-way locations became an inconvenience that helped the competition, the chain stopped selling appliances, and also failed to boost its online presence. On November 2, 2012, Circuit City officially ended the use of the brand name after 63 years. But, this story has a silver lining In 2018, after a few false starts, the brand was revived as an online retailer and a store-within-a-store chain.

Radio Shack
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Radio Shack

Once the latest and greatest for all electronics, RadioShack filed for bankruptcy twice over the past decade — in 2015, when General Wireless acquired it, and again in 2017, which led to the majority of its 1,500 stores being shut down. A range of issues ranging from online competition, constantly changing management, and store concentration brought down the chain. At one point, there were 25 Northern California stores located within a 25-mile radius. Still, it wasn't a complete disappearance — around 400 Radio Shack stores remain in the country and the brand announced plans in 2018 to start opening up stores inside HobbyTown locations.

Borders Books
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Borders Books

Sadly, Borders is one of the stores that has really truly disappeared. At the beginning of 2010, Borders operated 511 superstores across the U.S. By the end of July 2011, they had all closed. Peter Wahlstrom of the investment research firm Morningstar explained that this was at least partially because Borders "went heavy into CD music sales and DVD, just as the industry was going digital. And at that same time, Barnes & Noble was pulling back."

DressBarn
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DressBarn

In May 2019, DressBarn announced its plan to shutter all its locations. "As part of our planned wind down, which has received overwhelming support from our landlord and vendor community, we are starting store closing sales at the balance of our 544 brick and mortar retail stores on Friday," a later release from Steven Taylor, Dressbarn chief financial officer. The announcement alluded to "poor performance" by the retailers.

Payless
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Payless

Another vestige of the '90s has fallen. Or has it? In 2017, Payless filed for bankruptcy protection and closed 400 of its stores. In February 2019, Payless announced that it would be closing all of its 2,300 US and Canada locations. However, Payless franchises in other countries are still going strong, and the Payless line is still available for U.S. buyers through Amazon.

Facebook Home
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Facebook Home

Remember Facebook home? No? Well, it didn't do all that well. In 2013, Facebook launched an Android-only app that turned the user's home screen into a Facebook feed—essentially a slide show of status updates and photos from Facebook friends. It was launched in conjunction with the HTC First phone, which came with the app pre-loaded. The reason for the not-so-stellar response? One theory is that it was tested on iPhone users, who are used to a different set of features than Android users.

Blockbuster
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Blockbuster

Technically, Blockbuster hasn't completely disappeared — there is one lone store left in Bend, Oregon, which operates a popular Twitter account. Largely thanks to competition from Netflix, Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010 and closed the majority of its remaining locations between November, 2013 and January, 2014. A handful of locations managed to hang on in the years that followed, including two stores in Alaska and one in Australia, but the Oregon location is now the last hold-out.