The bankruptcy of Hostess Brands
is just the latest example of once-famous U.S. companies that have gone out of business.
History's dustbin is full of familiar brands that are now extinct, including Studebaker, Woolworth's and Braniff.
Analysts blame changing consumer tastes for the plunging sales of Wonder Bread and Twinkies that led to Hostess Brands' demise.
Most companies fail because management keeps trying to sell the same products, using the same marketing and business model, long after the products have hit the skids.
So which famous brands might not be around much longer?
The Next Hostess: Four U.S. Brands That Could Disappear
Here are four U.S. brands that have fallen so far behind the competition they are in danger of disappearing in the near future.
1. Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD)
Sears has a proud history of pioneering markets and once dominated retail with its catalogs.
But in 2005, a buyout of Sears and discount retailer Kmart by fund manager Eddie Lampert spawned a spate of management missteps.
Sears and Kmart, with more than 3,000 stores in the United States, have been unable to compete against other low-cost retail chains like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT
) and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT
Sears sales have been on a downward spiral for years. In fact, Sears has posted 23 straight quarters of declining same-store sales.
Meanwhile, Lampert has shown himself to be remarkably tone-deaf.
He recently bought a $40 million home north of Miami about the same time Sears decided to sell 1,200 stores and close another 173.
In 2011, Sears' American Customer Satisfaction Index
score was 76 out of 100. Only Wal-Mart received a lower score.
Stockholders have shown their dissatisfaction with Sears. Shares have declined from about $180 to the low $40's.
2. RadioShack Corp. (NYSE: RSH)
At a time when more Americans are doing more of their shopping online, RSH clings to its traditional, brick-and-mortar retail store model.
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