The business world can be cruel and totally ruthless in its day to day operations, with the sudden and unexpected bankruptcy of some of the world’s most famous and loved companies really coming to encompass the brutality of modern life. Society has been rocked in the past few years with some of the most publicised and surprising bankruptcies ever seen in the world of finance and below we take a look at just some of them.
A true staple on the high streets ever since its inception all the way back in 1909, very few bankruptcies hit people quite as hard as Woolworths did in 2008. Specialising in everything from clothing ranges to pick n mix, Woolworths was economically smashed by the worldwide financial recession in 2008 and plans to keep any of its stores in operation looked destined to fail. Between December 2008 and January 2009, 807 Woolworths stores were closed which resulted in nearly 30,000 job losses.
With a reported $6.6 billion in assets, the Toys R Us bankruptcy is easily one of the most severe cases in modern times. A much beloved warehouse-based hub of toys and games for children, Toys R Us constantly seemed to be battling the notions of being outdated and out of touch with the modern equivalents of shopping and were, at one point, reported to be paying half a billion dollars a year in interest on their debt, resulting in a total shutdown of their operations in March 2018.
A firm favourite of thousands of film fans, Blockbuster was so often a staple part of planning a night in with friends or family. The store specialised in renting out movies recently released, however they quickly fell behind in a market that would come to be dominated not only by illegal pirating, but also by companies and platforms such as Netflix or Prime that allowed for arguably greater choice, and more convenient systems.
With over 200 stores up and down the United Kingdom, hiring roughly 2,500 staff in those stores, the announcement that electronics specialist Maplin were in administrative measures took the headline news in February 2018. Citing the devaluation of the pound following the Brexit decision and a weaker consumer environment as the reasons behind Maplin's decline, the company's failure to compete in a world dominated by the likes of Amazon did much to highlight the unforgiving nature of rolling with the times.
A total giant in the book and music world, Borders was a worldwide brand with over 1,200 shops and over 36,000 employees working under their name. Failing to adapt to a world that was increasingly drawn towards the likes of e-books and online streaming services, their fall was quick and ruthless in nature. Unable to find a suitable investor to guide it through the challenges it was facing, all of Borders' stores were closed by the end of 2010.
Formed in 1933 and experiencing a meteoric rise that saw it become one of the most recognisable faces in the high street, Comet were one of the leading companies in the electrical world. Possessing 240 shops that would hire over 6,500 employees, their sudden and unexpected fall would rock the world in 2011. Failing to compete against the cheaper and arguably easier nature of online shopping, the nail in the coffin came for Comet when the world turned towards the likes of tablets and android phones.
Achieving its peak in the immediate years before the millenium, RadioShack once boasted an empire that stretched right across from the US, Canada and Mexico to the UK and Australia. However, in a world filled with the likes of Youtube, Spotify and iTunes, RadioShack would pay for their frequently poor customer relations by seeing their stocks fall and their losses rise. The tagline at Superbowl of 'The '80s called, they want their store back' perhaps did the single most damage in showcasing just how out of favour this giant had become.
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