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In 1997, one of the oldest five-and-dime retailers sold its last pair of socks and milkshakes in its namesake stores.

The 117-year-old company couldn't stand up to competitors such as Wal-Mart and Target, which offered larger selections, speedier checkouts and lower prices. The discount retailer did its best to expand into malls as Americans moved to the suburbs in the 1950s, but eventually the big-box retailers innovated faster, and desire for lunch counters while shopping waned.

While the Woolworth Corporation continued to operate its other brands, including Foot Locker, Northern Reflections and After Thoughts, its remaining 400 discount stores, responsible for $1 billion of the company's total $8 billion in sales, closed across the country. The parent company changed its name to Venator Group before morphing into athletic retailer Foot Locker in 2001.

Frank Lennon | Toronto Star | Getty Images