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List of defunct retailers of the United States

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Below is a list of notable defunct retailers of the United States.

Across the United States, a large number of local stores and store chains that started between the 1920s and 1950s have become defunct since the late 1960s, when many chains were either consolidated or liquidated. Some may have been lost due to mergers, while others were affected by a phenomenon of large store closings in the 2010s known as the retail apocalypse.


  • Al's Auto Supply – Chain that operated in Washington, California, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and Alaska; purchased by CSK Auto. Founded by Abe "Al" Wexler in Everett, Washington in the late 1950s;[1][2] sold 15 store chain to Paccar in 1987;[3] Paccar sold chain (along with Grand Auto) in 1999 to CSK Auto which eventually rebranded stores as Schucks.[4][5][6]
  • Auto Palace  – A New England-based chain that had 112 stores in six states before it was acquired and rebranded by AutoZone in 1998[7][8][9]
  • Auto Works  – Began in Michigan in 1976 by Perry Drug Stores and which grew mostly through acquisitions[10][11] prior to being sold to Northern Automotive in 1988.[12] In turn, Northern became CSK and CSK sold Auto Works to Hahn Automotive in 1993[13] before Hahn finally closed Auto Works in 1997.[14] At its height, there were 252 stores in eight states.
  • Chief Auto Parts – acquired and rebranded by AutoZone in 1998[15][16]
  • CSK Auto – (CSK = Checker, Schucks, Kragen) based in Phoenix, Arizona with stores nationwide; bought by O'Reilly Auto Parts in 2008[17][18]
  • Parts America – Sears created the Parts America store concept in 1995 and tried to convert full service Western Auto stores into the parts only Parts America brand until it sold the stores to Advance Auto Parts in 1998.[19][20][21] Upon merger, Parts America stores were rebranded Advance Auto Parts and the website partsamerica.com became a web only store for Advance Auto Parts. With financial backing from Sears, Advance Auto Parts decided to make the partsamerica.com into a portal for web purchasing of auto parts as part of a joint venture with CSK Auto.[22] The website appeared to have been deactivated by 2009.[23]
  • Super Shops – filed for bankruptcy in 1998[24][25]
  • Trak Auto – Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and West Coast; founded by Robert Haft (Crown Books) in 1981; purchased and rebranded by Advance Auto Parts in 2002[26][27]
  • Western Auto – nationwide, once had 1,800 locations, purchased by Sears in 1987[28][29] and sold to and rebranded by Advance Auto Parts in 1998[30][31]

Camping, sports or athletic stores[edit]

  • MC Sports – filed for bankruptcy and closed in 2017
  • Modell's Sporting Goods – first store opened in 1889. On March 11, 2020, the company filed for bankruptcy, and announced it would close all 115 stores. At the time of the announcement, Modell's was the world's oldest sporting goods chain
  • Olympia Sports – the company was founded in 1975, and on July 22, 2022, the company filed for bankruptcy and announced it would close all 35 stores by September 30th
  • Oshman's Sporting Goods – founded in Houston in 1933; acquired by Gart Sports in 2001; most stores rebranded as Sports Authority
  • Sportmart – merged with Gart Sports in 1998 and closed in 2000
  • Sports Authority – bankrupt in 2016 and liquidated. Brand was acquired by Dick's Sporting Goods
  • Sports Unlimited – First store in 1983. In 2008 closed all stores and moved online.
  • Sport Chalet – went bankrupt and closed in 2016
  • Sportswest – owned by Pay 'n Save and spun off in 1984; acquired by Big 5 Sporting Goods in 1988
  • Sunny's Surplus – went bankrupt in 2000 but emerged in 2001; filed for bankruptcy again in 2007 and closed most locations; three reopened in late 2007 but shut down again in 2008

Catalog showrooms[edit]

Clothing, shoe and specialty stores[edit]

  • Abby Z. – plus size design label founded by Abby Zeichner in 2004.[45] The Abby Z flagship store opened in SoHo, New York at 57 Greene Street in 2008 and closed in 2009[46] when its parent company filed for bankruptcy.[47]
  • Anchor Blue – youth-oriented mall chain, founded in 1972 as Miller's Outpost. The brand had 150 stores at its peak, predominantly on the West Coast. Anchor Blue declared bankruptcy in 2009 and shuttered more than 50 stores, and gradually shrank to include stores solely in California. It went bankrupt once more in 2011, with the remaining stores closed before Easter of that year.[48]
  • Anderson-Little – men's specialty retailer originally associated with a large Massachusetts-based men's clothing manufacturer; also known as Anderson Little-Richman Brothers; owned for many years by F. W. Woolworth Company. Ceased operations in 1998,[49][50][51][52][53][54] revived as a small online retailer in 2008.[49]
  • Casual Corner – liquidated in 2005
  • Chess King – sold to Merry-Go-Round in 1993; liquidated along with that chain in 1995
  • Christopher & Banks – bankrupted in 2021 from financial loss, because of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • County Seat – founded in 1973, the denim-focused mall retailer expanded in the 1980s to nearly 500 stores. It filed for bankruptcy in 1996 and shuttered stores, and another bankruptcy in 1999 put the company out of business.[55]
  • Cygnet Shops – women's fashion store that closed in 1975
  • DEB – closed its stores in 2015, and returned later that year as an online-only retailer selling plus-size clothing
  • Delia's – founded in 1993 as a juniors' clothing catalog, Delia's (stylized as dELiA*s) expanded to more than 100 physical locations before cheaper competitors sent it to bankruptcy in 2014.[56] It was reopened in 2015 as an online retailer, but this was unsuccessful and has been licensed by online fashion company Dolls Kill since 2018.
  • Disney Store – owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. Closed the majority of its retail stores in 2021 mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with merchandise moved online and to department stores such as Target and JCPenney.[57]
  • Edison Brothers Stores – operator of numerous shoe and clothing chains, including Bakers Shoes, Wild Pair, J. Riggings, Oaktree, Foxmoor and Fashion Conspiracy. Company was liquidated in 1999, though some chains it operated, including Bakers, have survived.
  • Fashion Bug – plus-size women's clothing retailer that once spanned more than 1000 stores. Parent company Charming Shoppes, which owned other plus-size retailers including Lane Bryant, shuttered the brand in early 2013.
  • Florsheim – mall shoe store; still sells online
  • Gadzooks – Founded in 1983 as a T-shirt store, Gadzooks grew to a 250-store mall fashion retailer before making an ill-advised decision to discontinue menswear. The company was purchased by competitor Forever 21 out of bankruptcy in 2005, with its stores either closed or converted to F21 formats.
  • Gantos – a women's specialty clothing retailer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In late 1993, the company announced bankruptcy reorganization, closing 50 stores between 1993 and 1994,[58] and the chain announced the liquidation of its remaining 114 stores by the end of the decade, ceasing operations in 2000.[59]
  • Gottschalks – Founded in 1904, this middle-market regional department store was once the largest independently owned, publicly traded department store in the United States. Bankruptcy claimed the brand in 2009.[60]
  • Hahn's Shoes (1876–1995) – Washington, D.C. region
  • Harold's – founded in 1948 in Norman, Oklahoma, and liquidated through bankruptcy in 2008[61]
  • Hess Shoe Store (1872–1999)  – Baltimore, Maryland region.
  • J. Brannam – a unit of the F. W. Woolworth Company established in 1979 that operated primarily in the southern U.S.;[62] closed in 1985[63]
  • J. Byrons – Florida-based retailer, sold to Uptons, closed in 1996
  • Jay Jacobs – Seattle-based clothier; founded in 1941 and closed in 1999
  • Kids "R" Us – a division of Toys "R" Us, created in 1983 to sell children's and preteen clothing; folded in 2003
  • Kinney Shoes – manufacturer and retailer established in 1894 and purchased by F.W. Woolworth in 1963
  • Kleinhans – a men's clothier in Buffalo, New York that operated from 1893 until 1992
  • Klopfenstein's – a men's clothier in the Seattle-Tacoma area founded in 1918 and in operation until 1992[64]
  • The Limited – filed for bankruptcy and liquidated in 2017. Its products became available again online after the brand was acquired by Sycamore Properties.
  • Margo's LaMode – Dallas-based women's clothing store that closed in 1996 after corporate parent underwent bankruptcy reorganization
  • Martin + Osa – Established in 2006 as the more mature counterpart to American Eagle Outfitters, the chain grew to 28 stores before millions in losses forced its parent company to discontinue it. The brand's stores and e-commerce site disappeared in 2010.
  • Merry-Go-Round – Merry-Go-Round had more than 500 locations during its heyday in the 1980s. It went bankrupt in 1995.[65]
  • Mervyn's – a California-based regional department store founded in 1949. Mervyn's ill-fated expansion out of West Coast markets in the months before a recession sent the company into bankruptcy in 2008.[66][67]
  • Miller's Outpost – see "Anchor Blue" above
  • Payless (footwear retailer) – Filed for bankruptcy twice and closed all stores in Canada and the US in 2019.
  • Raleigh's – also known as Raleigh Haberdasher; a men's and women's clothing store in Washington, D.C., 1911–1992
  • Robert Hall – clothing store that existed from 1938 to 1977. At its peak, the store had locations in both New York City and Los Angeles. In addition, the firm invented the big box concept where all non-clothing lines were leased by other retailers.[citation needed]
  • Rogers Peet – New York City based men's clothing retailer established in late 1874. Among the chain's innovations: Rogers Peet showed actual merchandise in their advertising, advertised fabric types on merchandise, and put price tags on merchandise. The chain went belly-up in 1981.[citation needed]
  • Roos/Atkins – a San Francisco menswear retailer formed in 1957 and expanded throughout the Bay Area in the 60s. The brand went into decline in the 1980s and ceased operations by 1995.
  • Ruehl No.925 – concept brand launched by Abercrombie & Fitch in 2004; poor sales and operating losses led to A&F ceasing operations of Ruehl in early 2010
  • The Sample – Western New York based retailer founded in Buffalo in 1928 when its founder brought a sample set of 48 dresses back from New York City. At its peak, the retailer was noted for its semi-annual clearance known as the Pup Sale. The demise of The Sample was in 1991 following the death of the chain's chairman a year earlier.[citation needed]
  • Sibley's Shoes – a show retailer founded by Harry Rosenfield in 1920; had locations in Michigan and Ohio and closed in 2003 when the company's executives decided to not save the company[citation needed]
  • Steve & Barry's – "extreme value" retail clothing chain that operated 276 stores in 39 states.
  • Sycamore Shops – an Indianapolis-based women's clothing retailer; spun off from L.S. Ayres; was later forced into bankruptcy and liquidated by early 1996[68]
  • Thom McAn – shoe retailer founded in 1922; had over 1,400 stores at its peak in the 1960s. In 1996, the parent company decided to close all remaining stores, but Thom McAn footwear is available in Kmart stores.[69]
  • Today's Man – a men's suiting store that began in the 1970s and expanded rapidly in the 1980s and 90s. Overexpansion brought the brand to bankruptcy in 1996.[70]
  • Virginia Dare Dresses, Incorporated – merged with Atlantic Thrift Centers, Inc in 1963
  • Warner Brothers Studio Store – Meant to be the WB answer to the rapidly growing Disney Store, the Warner Bros. Studio Stores sold collectibles and apparel based around WB properties including Looney Tunes and DC Comics. The Studio Stores were a victim of the AOL-Time Warner merger, and shuttered operations in 2001.[71]
  • Yellow Front Stores – Founded in the 1950s as an army surplus store, Yellow Front transitioned to become a camping gear retailer before going bankrupt in 1990.

Department and discount stores[edit]

Drug stores[edit]



Electronics stores[edit]

Five-and-dime; variety stores[edit]

Furniture stores[edit]

Grocery stores and supermarkets[edit]



Home decor and craft stores[edit]

Home improvement[edit]

Music, booksellers, and video stores (records, tapes, books, CDs, DVDs, etc.)[edit]




Office-supply stores[edit]

Pet stores[edit]

Toy stores[edit]

  • All Wound Up – acquired by Borders in 1999[171][172] and closed in 2001[173]
  • Child World (also known as Children's Palace) – liquidated in 1992[174]
  • Circus World – acquired by Melville in 1990 and converted to KB Toys[175][176]
  • Disney Store  – The Disney Store closed by the end of January 19, 2022 as the retail moves to Target stores.[177]
  • F.A.O. Schwarz – sold to Toys 'R Us after bankruptcy in 2009; all stores closed except original NYC flagship store, which closed in 2015.[178] The chain was bought out by ThreeSixty group and opened two new locations in Rockefeller Center, and LaGuardia airport, with plans to open up to 30 more in the future.
  • KB Toys – liquidated February 9, 2009, which closed all of the remaining stores;[179] sold to Toys "R" Us and then to Strategic Marks, LLC; although it planned to reopen stores in 2019, this never happened due to a lack of funding.
  • Lionel Kid City – founded in 1957 by Leonard Wasserman; liquidated in 1993[180][181][182][183][184][185]
  • Lionel Playworld – liquidated in 1993[182][183][185]
  • Noodle Kidoodle – acquired in 2000 by Zany Brainy and rebranded[186]
  • Toys "R" Us – liquidated most stores in 2018; still active in Canada and other countries. The company was bought and reformed by its lenders as a brand owned by TRU Kids. On November 27, 2019, Toys "R" Us re-entered the American market with a retail store at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. On December 7, 2019, a second location was opened at The Galleria in Houston, Texas. Both stores were permanently closed in early 2021. A new stand alone location was later opened in the American Dream Mall in New Jersey. On August 19, 2021, Macy's bought Toys "R" Us and announced they will be opening store-within-a-store locations in 400 Macy's locations.
  • Warner Bros. Studio Store – stores closed in 2001[71][187]
  • Zany Brainy – liquidated in 2003 after parent company filed for bankruptcy[188]

Video games and personal computing software[edit]

Warehouse clubs and membership department stores[edit]

  • E.J. Korvette – gradually liquidated by 1981 after declaring bankruptcy[189]
  • Fedco
  • GEM – initially called Government Employees Mutual Stores, and later Government Employees Mart before settling on G. E. M. Membership Department Stores, a profit-making company that was aimed at the governmental employees market; first store was opened in Denver in 1956;[190] after several expansions, the company filed for bankruptcy in 1974[191]
  • Gemco – acquired by Lucky Stores in 1961;[192] closed in 1986 and stores sold to Target;[193] known as Memco in the Chicago and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas
  • Pace Membership Warehouse – founded in Denver in 1983 and quickly expanded to the East Coast;[194][195] acquired by Kmart in 1989;[196][197] later sold to Sam's Club in 1993 and rebranded[198][199]
  • Price Club – merged with Costco in 1993 and rebranded[200][201]

See also[edit]


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