Williby Blogs

Monday, January 29, 2018

Toys Were Us ~ 2018!


Published: March 9, 2018, 11:29 AM PST ~ Updated on March 13, 2018, 9:36 PM PST United States -- Toys “R” Us is making preparations for a liquidation of its bankrupt U.S. operations. Toys “R” Us entered bankruptcy in September 2017. The business grew just 1 percent in 2017 and fell during the holiday season. The company has struggled to find a buyer or reach a debt-restructuring deal with lenders. This has left Toys “R” Us with few options. Toys “R” Us’s demise would hit a toy industry that’s already faltering. Toys “R” Us results show that there’s still demand for toys. The company generated more than $7 billion in annual sales in the U.S. Claire’s Stores Inc., another chain that sells some toys, also is said to be nearing bankruptcy -- though it’s not at the point of being shut down. On Friday, Mattel Inc.’s shares sank as much as 10 percent. Hasbro Inc. fell much as 3.8 percent. Two other toymakers, Spin Master Corp. and Jakks Pacific Inc., also declined.


Published: Monday February 5,, 2018 11:06 A.M. PT
United States -- Bon-Ton Stores (BONT) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It is the largest retailer to do so thus far in 2018. The regional department store chain has dual headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and York, Pennsylvania. The company has been struggling to grow sales and move operations online in the face of Amazon (AMZN). The company operates about 260 retail locations in total. recently laid out plans to shutter more than 40 stores across the U.S. under its various banners (i.e. Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers). The department store chain recently reported a dismal holiday season. Many of the company's peers (i.e. J.C. Penney (JCP) Kohl's (KSS) and Macy's (M)) did well against a strong economic backdrop. Bon-Ton is hampered by a massive debt load. Bon-Ton said it received a commitment of as much as $725 million in debtor-in-possession financing from existing asset-backed lenders to support its operations. CEO Bill Tracy said in prepared remarks: "During this court-supervised process, we plan to continue operating in the normal course and executing on our key initiatives to drive improved performance. We are currently engaged in discussions with potential investors and our debt-holders on a financial restructuring plan." Bon-Ton said it will also explore strategic alternatives while under bankruptcy protection. These strategic alternatives include a sale of the company, or certain assets as a part of the reorganization plan. The process will also make it easier for Bon-Ton to renegotiate its existing leases with landlords, or ask for rent reductions. Bon-Ton has also said it plans to invest more in private-label brands. The plan is to refresh the overall store layout and ditch excess inventory. The company hopes to strengthen its e-commerce business. GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders said: "The harsh reality is that while Bon-Ton's management put in great effort to make the business sustainable, they were always running up a down escalator. A scaled down business may have a chance of survival," Saunders added. But Bon-Ton must resolve the fact that its products are "undifferentiated, unclear and have become increasingly irrelevant to consumers." Toys R Us, Hhgregg, Gymboree and RadioShack filed for bankruptcy protection in 2017. Many other companies carry a load of retail debt coming due this year. Based thereupon, experts say there are a handful of candidates that could be next after Bon-Ton.

Toys 'Were' Us

Published: Monday January 29, 2018 13:26 Hours PDT United States -- Toys 'R' Us began as a single store for baby carriages and cribs in Washington, D.C. in 1948. It quickly became a favorite destination for children's toys. Within the last few years, Toys 'R' Us acquired competitors like FAO Schwarz and KB Toys. The company pursued international expansion. Toys 'R' Us slashed prices in an effort to continue attracting shoppers to its colorful aisles. On September 18, 2017, Toys 'R' Us sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court.
The children's toy store struggled with a massive $5 billion it had racked up and fierce online competition. The retailer was seeking a way out of the debt. Toys 'R' Us said it would keep its 1,600 Toys 'R' Us and Babies 'R' Us stores open. The company headed into the busy 2017 holiday season. Toys 'R' Us had been crippled by debt since it was acquired by private equity firms KKR; Bain Capital; and real estate company Vornado Realty Trust. Toys 'R' Us was acquired in a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout in 2005. Toys 'R' Us started the process of going public in 2010. However, the company ultimately pulled the filing. Toys 'R' Us cited "unfavorable market conditions."
CEO Dave Brandon described the bankruptcy as a way to work with its creditors to get back on solid financial footing. The company also said the bankruptcy was designed as a way to invest in long-term growth in a difficult retail environment. In a public statement, Brandon said: "Today marks the dawn of a new era at Toys"R"Us where we expect that the financial constraints that have held us back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way."
The company received more than $3 billion in debtor-in-possession financing from J.P.Morgan Chase and other lenders. The financing was designed to help Toys 'R' Us sustain operations during the bankruptcy process. Despite the financing, sales slipped in the face of competition from giants like Amazon and Wal-Mart. In its latest quarter (in 2017) same-store sales fell by 4.1%. This caused Toys 'R' Us to post losses of $164 million. Despite the bankruptcy filing, Toys 'R' Us said the "vast majority" of its stores were profitable. The company said it would be reevaluating Toys 'R' Us' physical footprint during the bankruptcy process.
Toys 'R' Us joins a parade of other retailers that have sought bankruptcy protection in 2017. Those stores include shoe store Payless and children's clothing retailer Gymboree. Many other retailers have aggressively closed stores and laid off employees, instead shifting resources to online capabilities.

Movie Bonus

Waco, Texas -- Researchers analyze the fatal 1993 conflict between Branch Davidians and FBI, ATF and Texas Guard. Initial release: 1999 Director: Jason Van Vleet Narrator: Frederic Whitehurst Cast: Frederic Whitehurst, Gene Cullen, Misty Riddle, Clive Doyle, Misty Ferguson, Rita Riddle Screenplay: Michael McNulty, William Gazecki Music composed by: Daniel D. Hoeye, Aric R. Johnson