J.C. Penney (JCP) has had a rough couple of years; will it make it to 2015? In 2011, the company faced a serious bout of public backlash after a demeaning line of girl’s T-shirts was released. The T-shirts were insulting, to say the least. Who in their right mind would approve of a shirt with the tagline "I’m too pretty to do my homework so my brother has to do it for me?"

The company also faced criticism after hiring openly gay television host Ellen DeGeneres as a spokesperson in 2012 and then sent investors scurrying later that same year after reporting a $203 million third quarter loss. These problems and more have led the staff at 24/7 Wall St. to declare JCP one of Ten Brands That Will Disappear in 2014.

“Many believe the company cannot come back from the unprecedented sales losses it has suffered in recent years. The industry is very competitive, both at brick-and-mortar stores and online. Big-box retailers from Walmart to Target and successful department stores such as Macy’s are larger than J.C. Penney and are growing. At the e-commerce level, companies such as Amazon.com and eBay, are gobbling up market share. Amazon has done damage to retailers much healthier than J.C. Penney.”

Only time will tell but in my opinion, JCP is going to have to make a radical change in its business plan in order to survive. While it would be sad to see a company with a more than 100-year history close its doors, the proverbial writing is on the wall and I have to agree with its inclusion on the 24/7 list.

Other brands that 24/7 Wall St. predicts will fail by the end of 2014 are Nook, Martha Stewart Living Magazine, LivingSocial, Volvo, Olympus, the WNBA, Leap Wireless, Mitsubishi Motors and Road & Track magazine.

I admit, I wasn’t surprised to see Mitsubishi Motors on the list but Volvo’s inclusion did surprise me. I was impressed with Volvo’s display at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show and for the first time in a long time, I was excited about the thought of driving a Volvo.

Since I’m more of an automotive hobbyist, I decided to ask fellow MNN blogger and automotive expert Jim Motavalli what he thought about both Volvo and Mitsubishi Motor’s future in the U.S. market.  

“I think it's quite possible that Mitsubishi will follow Suzuki in exiting the American market, since it's never really established itself in the U.S. Mitsubishi isn't offering any compelling products that would compel customers already buying Japanese to migrate to other brands. The failure of the i-MiEV electric car to gain a foothold is a case in point,” said Motavalli. “Volvo was struggling even before the sale to Geeley three years ago, but it has a more than 50-year history in the U.S. The company could decide to exit the American market, but it shouldn't take that step without another push to re-establish market share. To succeed, that will mean new models and a compelling market campaign.”

I’m with Jim; Volvo executives — please push out a few new models and get a top-notch marketing firm to launch an eye-catching campaign that will drive buyers into dealerships.

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