Finding the next RadioShack-like disaster story in retail is almost as easy as pulling up an online mall directory and thinking about which companies no longer stand for anything amid an onslaught of new H&M and Zara stores and fancier-looking Walmart and Target centers.
The oddly slow death of an icon of 1980s malls, RadioShack, sheds light on three basic rules in retail that richly paid execs must follow, or else: Evolve or die, don't spend large sums of money on misguided pet projects and respect the consumer who is yearning to check out something out at a cash register. Not consistently adhering to these rules of retail combat often leads to scattered sales and earnings misses vs. Wall Street's expectations and fleeing shareholders over time.
Read MoreRetail chains that disappeared
There are three retailers that jump to mind as they continue to make such egregious strategic mistakes: former gold standard retailer Sears Holdings, the once popular teen apparel destination Aeropostale, and the first place a giddy 21-year old girl snagged a suit for a job in 1998 New York & Company.