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10 Companies Who Managed to Make a Comeback

10 March 2021

Once a Company Loses Its Worth, It Is Very Hard to Make a Comeback. But These Companies Managed to Do the Impossible.

JCPenney, Lord & Taylor, Century 21 Department Stores, GNC… just a few big companies that have gone bankrupt. Many big brands shutting shop have been around for over 100-years, yet they just couldn’t survive – unlike these 10 Companies Who Managed to Make A Comeback.

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With that said, let’s jump right into the article.

1

Avon

There is nothing more satisfying than opening a brand-new Avon catalogue. The smell of the freshly printed pages, the allure of looking younger, prettier and softer while scratching every “rub and sniff” sample until they all smell the same.

Avon has been around since 1886, and in 2021 mid pandemic, is more relevant than ever before.

Things started to go wrinkly around 2014, when global sales had dropped for 5-years straight, and sales in North America were down 18% for that year. The company were under scrutiny surrounding allegations of bribery in China and paid $135 million after admitting guilt.

It looked like Avon was about to dry up.

However, they bounced back with new trade names, new headquarters in London, a few acquisitions and then, the “Company for Women,” was bought by Brazilian beauty company, Natura, for over $2 billion via a share swap, and “Ding Dong” Avon’s back and became one of the largest beauty companies in the world, bringing in over $10 billion in annual revenue for Natura, saving it from getting bankrupt.

2

Best Buy

Perhaps they got their inspiration from Julie Andrews, but when Best Buy began in 1966, it was called “The Sound of Music.”

Any quick Google search will tell you that Best Buy is doing well. They’re partnering up with Apple and Lively app to offer support to the elderly. As Best Buy said, “Best Buy Health is helping to make it easier for older adults to stay safe, healthy and connected by offering a full array of health and safety services available on Apple Watch.”

Things weren’t always so healthy for Best Buy. By 2010, sales and profits were dismal and in 2012, the details of the relationship between the then CEO, Brian Dunn, and a 29-year-old employee emerged, and it didn’t reflect well on the company.

When Hubert Joly took on the position as CEO, he turned the place around with major focus on integrating the online and in-store experience. He basically removed Best Buy from the list of companies getting bankrupt.

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3

Apple

In our video, 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Tim Cook, we mentioned, “When Steve Jobs persuaded Cook to join Apple in 1998, the company was almost bankrupt.” Today, it has a market value of $2 trillion!

Can you imagine a world without Apple? Yet – it was almost a reality.

Steve Jobs later revealed, “In 1997, Apple was on the ropes. The Silicon Valley pioneer was being decimated by Microsoft and its many partners in the personal-computer market. It had just cut a third of its work force, and it was about 90 days from going broke.”

It took guts and determination, rapid innovation, and some revolutionary products to turn Apple around, and save it from getting into the list of companies that have gone bankrupt. These days, bringing an Apple to school has a completely different meaning to what it used to! 

4

Crocs

Purchasing a pair of Crocs was once considered the ultimate form of contraception, but those days are gone. So are the days where the only place it was considered ok to wear them was if you were in the medical industry, culinary industry or a toddler.

Introduced in 2002, the appeal of Crocs has risen and fallen almost as many times as Madonna has given her final performance, and in 2018, Crocs announced they would close all their manufacturing facilities and 16- retail stores. And what appeared to be the end was a chance for the brand to recalibrate and reinvent itself.

From near bankruptcy, CEO Andrew Reeves has done a phenomenal job in reinventing the brand. Who would have thought that Crocs would feature in a rap song in a positive light? But Post Malone is a huge fan and has collaborated with the brand several times. His song, “I’m Gonna Be” says, “Richard Mille my watch, thousand-dollar Crocs.” We Croc you not!

5

IBM

Actor Steve Coogan and Comedian Jimmy Fallon dad’s worked at IBM and for a long time, IBM was top of their game.

Nicknamed Big Blue, IBM employs 350 000 employees, with several of their employees winning Nobel Prizes, Turing Awards, National Medals of Technology and National Medal of Science. It’s hard to imagine that IBM nearly didn’t survive the early 90s.

Forbes.com confirmed that, “IBM was losing more money than any company had ever lost in U.S. history—US$8.10 billion loss for the 1992 financial year.”

After hiring a new CEO in 1993, things started to change. What was unusual about hiring the new CEO, Lou Gerstener, was that he had no experience in the computing world and it was the first time IBM had hired someone outside their ranks since 1914!

Gerstener implemented many changes, and today the company is rated 100% on its index of gay friendliness,, it’s the first major company worldwide to not use genetic information in employment decision making and is worth roughly $115 billion.  

6

Nokia

Nokia customers weren’t really feeling connected between 2007 and 2012 when Nokia lost 96% of their market share. How does one get there from being the best-selling mobile phone brand in the world?

Even when the iPhone was introduced in 2007, it didn’t majorly affect Nokia. However, after time, the quality of Nokia’s phones declined, and people were opting for better operating systems. Team that up with arrogant top-level managers with a lack of vision, and you have a company bound to be disconnected.

In 2012, Nokia lost $3-billion and sold their smartphone business to Microsoft.

These days, Nokia is heavily invested in 5G, but as Charlotte Gifford wrote for theneweconomy.com, “…at Nokia, is history doomed to repeat itself?” Only time will tell.

If you are interested in knowing more about mobile phones, check out 15 Most Expensive Mobile Phones Ever Sold.

7

Chrysler

Founded in 1925 by Walter Chrysler, the brand enjoyed decades of upward trends since inception. However, the US automaker had several challenges along the way that almost saw the end of the iconic brand.

The oil crisis, dwindling sales and foreign competition put Chrysler at jeopardy during the 70s. At that stage, government had to bail the company out with $1.5 billion.

Under the leadership of Lee lacocca, who had been fired by Ford in 1978, with Henry Ford citing, “Sometimes you just don’t like somebody,” lacocca became president of Chrysler. In 1984, lacocca and Chrysler recorded record profits of over $2.4 billion.

In April 2009, Chrysler once again fell on hard times and was forced into bankruptcy. Chrysler, along with GM and Ford, were given a lifeline of $80 billion by the Troubled Asset Relief Programme and has since recovered. Let’s gear down to number 8…

8

Hostess Brands

Despite the myth that Twinkies can last a lifetime, nobody has ever left one on the shelf long enough to find out. 😛

Twinkies were created by James Dewar in 1930. The vanilla cream filling was originally banana which saw a massive resurgence when King Kong was released in 2005.

Twinkie sales dropped 20% in 2011, with parent company Hostess citing a shift to healthier eating being the cause of the decline. In 2012, Hostess announced that they… “will be winding down operations and has filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeking permission to close its business and sell its assets, including its iconic brands and facilities.”

Shortly thereafter, all bakery operations were suspended.

Bring in billionaire investor, C. Dean Metropoulos and private equity firm Apollo Global, and a buyout of $410 million and Twinkies are back in business.

9

Converse

Selena Gómez once said, “My perfect guy wears converse, is totally laid back, and doesn’t worry about being cool.”

If history hadn’t been kind to Converse, she may have quoted something completely different, like “My Perfect guy wears Crocs, is totally laid back and doesn’t worry about being cool.”

Introduced as the Converse Rubber Company in 1908, it was a few years later that the All-Star sneaker was released. Then the perfect collaboration with Charles “Chuck” Taylor, and America had the best-selling basketball shoe they’d ever had.

The Great Depression hit hard in 1929, but they skidded through. The brand changed hands several times and eventually made unprecedented sales when it was bought by Allied Corporation in 1979.

With the influx of intense competition, sales began to wane. By 2001, Converse was one of the companies among many, that were near getting bankrupt. Fast-forward to 2003, Nike purchased the brand for $305 million and they continue to stand the test of time.

10

Lego

This children’s staple has entertained children since 1932. But with digital entertainment, the desire for Lego was dwindling faster than the cash in your wallet. By the time 2003 rolled by, the future of Lego wasn’t bright. Lego was $800 million in debt, and was among the companies who were almost bankrupt.

When Jorgen Vig Knudstorp took over as CEO in 2004, he made some changes. He reduced the number of Lego parts in circulation from 13,000 to 7,000 and moved the manufacturing away from Denmark where it was extremely pricey to less expensive areas like Mexico and Central Europe.

Lego introduced iconic sets, and the Lego Friends line and by 2018, the brand had grown its annual revenues to $5.6 Billion and they continue to grow, brick by brick.

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Question:

Aluxers, which of these companies are you happiest that they made a comeback? Let us know in the comments.