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Was it the decline of malls, poor quality food, bad corporate decisions, or the COVID shutdowns? Who knows! This list of the top 30 bankrupt brands of 2020 shows us that no matter how great your brand used to be, you just cannot survive 2020 without some lasting damage.
Bon Voyage! The Top 30 Bankrupt Brands of 2020

As we bid adieu to the amazing year of 2020, MESMERO would wishes a fond farewell to the top 30 consumer brands that may not be around in 2021.

This surprising list of potential closures (filing for bankruptcy doesn't mean they WILL close, just that they are probably getting close and need to pull off some miraculous turnarounds to stick around) may be due to the impact of the government mandated shutdowns due to a virus (you may have heard of this).

Because of this, the list includes many restaurants and travel companies for whom the lockdowns may have been the straw that broke the airline's back. Some have been in danger for years, and the list includes some surprising retail darlings of the shopping mall era for which closing time seemed imminent.

For some (many?) their bankruptcy may have more to do with their parent company's poor decision making than the actual popularity or health of their specific business.

Whatever the reason, here's the Top 30 bankrupt brands of 2020!

The "Everyone Knew It Was Inevitable" Brands: JCPenney's and Pier1 Imports. JC Penney is a tragic story of a historic retailer that either lost its way, or was always destined to vanish. And while it fought a good fight, it seems like it will soon join its one time peers/competitors Montgomery Wards, Newberry's, Woolworth's, and others in the great retail heaven in the sky. They won't be the last (Sears?) but I think they will be genuinely missed, even though no one has been to one in years.

Pier1 used to be cool. But somewhere it lost its ways. Oh well. We've heard a lot about these two, so let's move on to some others....

Have you ever wanted to write a letter? Have you ever needed wrapping paper for a gift? Have you ever sent a card in the mail? Well, if you said no to any of those questions, you won't miss these two brands. So long Papyrus and American Greetings.

Three well known restaurants up next. Of these three, one is a surprise, one was predictable, and one that outlived its pretension of being a place that served edible food when it was really a glorified snack bar and birthday party venue for toddlers.

Wait...Wendy's is on this list? How did that happen?

See ya later Chuck, Wendy and Hut.

It'll take more than overpriced and ineffective testosterone supplements to revive the GNC chain. It seems like there's still a market for pills that promise to do more than is really possible, so this may have been more brand overextension or poor decision in the board room. Or not. And like Radio Shack and billions before them, they're an outmoded retail model. We'll see.

I've never been to any of these stores. Despite that, these two don't surprise me.

WHY would you call a store that offers women's fashion a "BARN"?

It seems like a joke brand from a Tarantino movie. Did the same marketing team come up with the idea of the 'Salad Troft' restaurant? And "Tuesday morning"? I never understood that name. Is that when they are open? Well, maybe not any morning any longer.

Many of these brands below (and the following) may be victims of their corporate parents. So maybe not completely lost in terms of customer demand. Who can say? I can!

So the bankruptcies of the below might have less to do with men's preferences for more 'comfortable' clothing (or the decline in dress codes while working from home) than suits or pullover sweaters and more to do with expensive business trips for key executives (just making that up! Send the lawyers home guys!). But I wouldn't invest in them just right now (note that this website does not provide investing advice and all opinions are those of the author. Thanks lawyers!).

Similar to the men's brands above (and J. Crew, which is really a full line retailer, but I think its such a stupid brand it doesn't matter where it goes. Your charging how much for a polo?) we have some of these well-known fashion retailers heading to court for relief from creditors! That's not as fun as going to the mall used to be, which may be a part of the problem here....

While they never had the guts to open a Spokane store, Sur La Table was likely visited by many a Spokanite attempting to escape the tourist crush at Pike's Place Market in Seattle. Yep, they are on the list too. It was a fun store, and not all that upscale compared to the obscene abomination next on the list.

Where do robber baron's and tech start-up millionaires spend their money?

Well, probably at Neiman Marcus. If there were a retailer whose mere existence could persuade the. most ardent Milton Friedman fan to abandon the free market and join the Bernie Sanders campaign, it would be Neiman Marcus. If they have that much money to waste on a handbag, they're not paying enough taxes!

Since Neiman requires a lot more millionaires than our humble area could support, they never made it to this area of the country. Oh darn.

So dad and mom are working from home now and don't have the time or dress code requirements to wear anything but sweatpants from Amazon Prime. What about the kids? The tweens? Well, they're shopping online too. Apparently. True Religion wasn't the true faith it once was, and Lucky Brands isn't. Where's the Justice? Not at your mall or any future retail location.

Do you want to know something shocking? With the 2020 COVID lockdowns NO ONE has been traveling? Its true!

And so these four airlines are probably just the first of a future LONG list of travel and hospitality companies that were terminated by the health department. Of course, none of these airlines flew anywhere near Spokane (at least they didn't actually LAND here, which is the important thing), so do we even care? No, we don't! We still have Southwest and Alaska (for now).

Guess what? Since we're not flying, we don't really need to rent a car. Hertz didn't try hard enough and will no longer be #2.

This one's for the homers. A slew of restaurant chains may be folding up, and the only time you ever went there was when you were visiting grandparents in Phoenix. Well, too bad for you because it'll be the Golden Corral next time you visit.

So year, these brands are in trouble. But do we care? Is there any point any longer? When you've lost Rocky Rococco, can we afford to have any sympathy for people in Bellevue no longer visiting the CPK?

I think not. They were already dead to us, but we'll say goodbye anyway.


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