Each year, 24/7 Wall St. compiles a list of 10 brands that it predicts will disappear in the near-term. The list of those fated to vanish in 2011 proved to be fairly prescient. For example, 2010 nominees Blockbuster has bitten the dust, while Dollar Thrifty is on the road to oblivion and entertaining buyout offers from Avis and Hertz. And T-Mobile would have disappeared into the AT&T monolith, had it not been for antitrust issues.
Then again, 24/7 Wall St. also missed the mark last year on a few companies. Notably, Kia, Moody's, BP, and Zales appear to be doing better than expected.
This year's brands in danger of extinction include many that have stood the test of time for decades. But in a world where a venerable car make like Pontiac or a magazine like House & Garden can vanish, no brand is safe from the perils of competition, new inventions, rising costs or poor management.
To compile its list, 24/7 Wall St. looks at seven broad risk factors:
1. a rapid fall-off in sales and steep losses;
2. disclosures by the parent of the brand that it might go out of business;
3. rapidly rising costs that are extremely unlikely to be recouped through higher prices;
4. companies that are sold;
5. companies that go into bankruptcy;
6. companies that have lost the great majority of their customers; or
7. operations with rapidly withering market share.
Each of the 10 brands on the list suffer from one or more of these problems. Each of the 10 will be gone, based on our estimates, within 18 months.