Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fifteen companies that may go under this year

From Yahoo! Finance:
Rite Aid. This drugstore chain tried to boost its performance by acquiring competitors Brooks and Eckerd in 2007. But there have been some nasty side effects, like a huge debt load that makes it the most leveraged drugstore chain in the U.S.

Claire's Stores. Leon Black's once-renowned private-equity firm, the Apollo Group, paid $3.1 billion for this trendy teen-focused accessory store in 2007, when buyout funds were bulging. But cash flow has been negative for much of the past year and analysts believe Claire's is close to defaulting on its debt.

Chrysler. Of the three Detroit automakers, Chrysler is the most endangered, with a product portfolio that's overreliant on gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs and almost totally devoid of compelling small cars.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. This car-rental company is a small player compared to Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis Budget. It's also more reliant on leisure travelers, and therefore more susceptible to a downturn as consumers cut spending. Dollar Thrifty is also closely tied to Chrysler, which supplies 80 percent of its fleet.

Realogy Corp. It's the biggest real-estate brokerage firm in the country, but that's a bad thing when there are double-digit declines in both sales and prices, as there were in 2009. Realogy, which includes the Coldwell Banker, ERA, and Sotheby's franchises, also carries a high debt load, dating to its purchase by the Apollo Group in 2007 — the very moment when the housing market was starting to invert from a soaring ride into a sickening nosedive.

Station Casinos. Las Vegas has already been creamed by a biblical real-estate bust, and now it may face the loss of its home-grown gambling joints, too. Station — which runs 15 casinos off the strip that cater to locals — recently failed to make a key interest payment, which is often one of the last steps before a Chapter 11 filing.

Loehmann's Capital Corp. This clothing chain has the right formula for lean times, offering women's clothing at discount prices. But the consumer pullback is hitting just about every retailer, and Loehmann's has a lot less cash to ride out a drought than competitors like Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx.

Sbarro. It's not the pizza that's the problem. Many of this chain's 1,100 storefronts are in malls, which is a double whammy: Traffic is down, since consumers have put away their wallets. Sbarro can't really boost revenue by adding a breakfast or late-night menu, like other chains have done.

Six Flags. This theme-park operator has been losing money for several years, and selling off properties to try to pay down debt and get back into the black.

Blockbuster. The video-rental chain has burned cash while trying to figure out how to maximize fees without alienating customers. Its operating income has started to improve just as consumers are cutting back, even on movies. Video stores in general are under pressure as they compete with cable and Internet operators offering the same titles.

Krispy Kreme. The donuts might be good, but Krispy Kreme overestimated Americans' appetite — and that's saying something. This chain overexpanded during the donut heyday of the 1990s — taking on a lot of debt — and now requires high volumes to meet expenses and interest payments.

Landry's Restaurants. This restaurant chain, which operates Chart House, Rainforest Café, and other eateries, needs $400 million in new financing to finalize a buyout deal dating to last June.

Sirius Satellite Radio. The music rocks, but satellite radio has yet to be profitable, and huge contracts for performers like Howard Stern are looking unsustainable.

Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings. The casino company made famous by The Donald has received several extensions on interest payments, while it tries to sell at least one of its Atlantic City properties and pay down a stack of debt. But with casino buyers scarce, competition circling, and gamblers nursing their losses from the recession, Trump Entertainment may face long odds of skirting bankruptcy.

BearingPoint. This Virginia-based consulting firm, spun out of KPMG in 2001, is struggling to solve its own operating problems. The firm has consistently lost money, revenue has been falling, and management stopped issuing earnings guidance in 2008.
A lot of teenage girls will be disappointed if Claire's goes under. A lot of fat people will be disappointed if Krispy Kreme goes under. Sbarro makes great pizza and salad. I'd be disappointed if they go out of business, but I can't say I go there very often. Perhaps you should rent your movies from Blockbuster this year, hoping that if they close their doors while you've got the DVD checked out, it's yours to keep!

Get your Sbarro pizza, Krispy Kreme doughnuts, Blockbuster movies, and Six Flags amusement park rides this year before they're gone.


  1. i'll be an emotional wreck if Krispy Kreme goes out of business.

    are any of them casualties of the private equity leverage/rape/pillage business model that's currently in meltdown?

  2. I will be very irked about KK but meh about the rest. What irks me about KK is that is was completely self inflicted because the expanded too fast not because no one is buying their products. URG!

  3. Hey, there's always Dunkin' Donuts.

  4. James said...
    Hey, there's always Dunkin' Donuts.

    serious question: have you been to Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts?

  5. failure is deserved. success is earned.

    they will go under if they deserve it, and succeed if they earn it. Period.

  6. "Hey, there's always Dunkin' Donuts."

    please tell me you are kidding!

  7. Maybe it's because I'm not fat, but I've always thought Krispy Kreme donuts were waaaaay overrated. Too sickeningly sweet (even for donuts).

    James is right. Try Dunkin' Donuts. Unless they go under too (nothing would surprise me). DD has pretty good coffee too, so no one has to endure Charbucks icky burned coffee anymore, either.

    I'm surprised Blockbuster has lasted this long.

    No big shocker about Station Casinos. The quality of their service and food has really dropped in the past year or so.

  8. Realogy in the past year has tried to revive a failed brand (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate) while letting it's flagship brands (Century 21, Coldwell banker and ERA) fend for themselves. In our area, the largest C-B franchise (#1 in the area) deserted to Prudential Real Estate last winter. All of their revenue is tied to real estate sales, so they MUST be hurting.

  9. All that garbage is out in the... well, you know. Mauls and strip mauls of the outlying areas. As Sbarro's case makes clear: physical location is key to survival.

    And all of those places are accessible only via.... Chrysler and similar products.

    Nah, the landscape of America ain't changing.

  10. Best coffee...


    and cheap too.

    But do NOT eat the rolls, they make you fat. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm fatty rollsmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  11. guy n. cognito said...
    "serious question: have you been to Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' Donuts?"

    I've never actually been to Krispy Kreme, but I have had their doughnuts at work. I think it's been a few years since I've been to Dunkin' Donuts. Yes, Krispy Kreme tastes better, but probably has more calories, too.

    If you shop at the Dunkin' Donuts by GMU in the mornings, you have a chance of accidentally running into David Lereah. That's a plus, isn't it?

  12. I am skeptical about the inclusion of Loehmann's in the list. As the original article states, they *do* have the right formula for success in difficult times, desirable merchandise at discount prices. The key thing to remember about Loehmann's is that they have a veritable *cult* surrounding them. Their new Loehamnns' FaceBook Fan Page looks like it's going to get to 5000 fans within 24 hours after launch.

  13. sorry, misspelled the fb link above:
    should be Loehmann’s FaceBook Fan Page dddoohh!

  14. "I've never actually been to Krispy Kreme, but I have had their doughnuts at work."

    yeah not the same thing. You have to get them while they are still warm. Dunkin is like eating a cold piece of cornbread.

    Its rare that I actually go out and get doughnuts, but when I do, every time its fresh warm KK....THE BEST! Hate to see them go.

  15. Anonymous said...
    "Dunkin is like eating a cold piece of cornbread."

    Are you dissing cornbread, now? Cornbread is awesome!

  16. James = Hillbilly in the 'burbs.

  17. I like cornbread too!