Why Is RadioShacks Going Out of Business

Thanksgiving like Christmas is usually the commerce-free holiday in the US, when big stores are mostly closed. But these years, there’s growing number of retailers expanding their selling hours during commerce-free holiday to boost their sales. Radio Shacks probably the most expected one.

RadioShack Reports Large Quarterly Loss

Founded 1921 and went public in 1982, RadioShack Corporation is an American franchise of electronics retail stores in the U.S. The company has more than 4,400 company-operated stores in the U.S. and Mexico ,and more than 900 dealer stores in 25 countries.

It’s not surprising that the company is desperate to gain some sales during the holiday season, because there’s speculation that the company will die very soon. With several consecutive quarterly loss, in this June, following the horrible results posted from RadioShack’s 2014 Q1 earnings report on June 11, analyst company B. Riley & Co. lowered its price target on the company from $1 a share to zero, signaling another prediction for the company’s march to grave.

Compare its Q1 2014 and 2013 Q1 which is one year ago, Its revenue dropped $736.7 million from $849 million in the year ago period, which is about 11 percent drop. And Sales fell 14 percent for stores.

The company’s total liquidity decreased year to year, but its Chief Financial Officer John Feray assured investors that the liquidity they hold was enough to fund its turnaround for the next 12 months. (Ironically he already resigned)

First, to decrease expenses, RadioShack plans to reduce rent costs, cut customer compensation expenses, consolidate to fewer freight carriers to reduce rates, buy more store fixtures from Asia, and examine utility bills and rate plans. Like Office Depot, RadioShack plans to do more with less and shutter 200 stores per year over a three-year period.

However, take a look at the expense chart of RadioShack’s: Operating expenses, which were around 40% of revenue at the beginning of 2012, surpassed 50% during the most recent quarter. By comparison, Best Buy only spent 20.4% of its revenue on operating expenses during its second quarter.

Second, the company launched RadioShack Labs with PCH on June 5 to support startups and inventors to boost new product innovation. RadioShack plans to use a “direct-to-store” model for select products by reducing inventory requirements and increasing inventory turn in stores. The “RadioShack labs” is built to mainly stimulate innovation and raise consumer awareness to save its mounting losses in dropped sales. This could be an opportunity to fight against the industry-wide decline in electronics sales and low mobile phone demand due to few new models.

Other moves, such as adding services including in-store mobile device repair service to increase customer volume, are in the planning stages. The company’s Chief Executive Joseph Magnacca has acknowledged the implementation has taxed the company, saying “We were trying to do too much too quickly.” Magnacca, though, is confident that, once implemented, the moves will be a success. He added that the recent quarter report did not showcase their turnaround plan, and he was confident about that the company was able to overcome its challenges.

Till today, looking at RadioShack’s market performance it’s quite not pleasant. No one comes to RadioShack’s for purchasing electronics. One factor is that While consumers are increasingly shopping online, RadioShack has a negligible e-commerce business. Its rival Best Buy, in contrast, has invested in its e-commerce business over the past couple of years. RadioShack can’t compete with Best Buy, and it certainly can’t compete with online-only retailers such as Amazon.com. People aren’t going to RadioShack stores because there’s simply no reason for them to do so. And that’s not a problem that can easily be fixed.

To touraround they need to keep up bring more products, more innovation and establish a strong selling point. But these things need cash. Unfortunately the company don’t have liquidity, as mentioned before. Sales are declining far faster than costs, resulting in quarterly losses growing. The operating loss during the most recent quarter more than doubled of year ago period

The company shows no sign of increasing liquidity. So right now it is desperate for cash.

Recently RadioShack received a lifeline of a $120 million investment from shareholders hedge fund Standard General LP, which also finance American apparel to save the company earlier this year, and Litespeed Management LLC that will allow it to get through the holiday season and restructure its debt.

CNN Money first published the coming financial rounding from hedge fund August, RadioShack shares are up 115% for the week.

On October, it announced that it is planning a rights offering that is expected to complete by March 15, to offer existing shareholders the right to purchase equity at 40 cents per share of common stock.


The cocoa crisis and the chocolate deficit

One of the world’s favourite treat- chocolate, could face a critical shortage in the next 20 years; two leading chocolate makers Mars, Inc. and Barry Callebaut say.

Switzerland-based Barry Callebaut, which describes itself as the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, said it had concerns about future cocoa supply in its annual report published earlier this month. Barry Callebaut was repeating the concerns of Mars in the US, which has been warning for some years that cocoa production could be 1 million tonnes short of demand by 2020.

Simply put from the manufacture perspective, it seems like people are eating too much chocolate therefore leads to this not-so-sweet deficit in the future.



Image Source: thestar.com

Nevertheless, people’s exceeding consumption power is not the only reason for the deficit.

On the other side of the supply-demand chain, the market supply of chocolate has already been affected by the lower cocoa productivity worldwide in recent years.

Cocoa is the main ingredient in chocolate, without it there is no tasty chocolate. Last year, the world ate roughly 70,000 metric tons more cocoa than it produced. Bloomberg reports that from 1993 to 2007, the price of cocoa averaged about $1,400 a ton; the past six years had an average of little more than $2,700 – an 87 percent increase. According to Bloomberg, the lack of supply is reportedly due to drought, disease, higher demand of more-productive crops like corn, and last but not least, the rising popularity of dark chocolate – which calls for more cocoa.



Source: Groupe Sucres et Denrées (SUCDEN)

At the same time, people in the developing economies of Asia and Latin America are acquiring a taste for chocolate. While North America and Western Europe still account for more than half of global chocolate sales, demand is growing faster in emerging markets. That’s raising concerns that demand for cocoa beans, the key ingredient in chocolate bars, will outstrip supply.

Chocolate sales in Asia are forecast to grow by 23 per cent over the next five years and by almost 31 per cent in Latin America, according to London-based research firm Euromonitor International. That compares with growth of 8.3 per cent in North America and 4.7 per cent in Western Europe over the same period.



Source: the Wall Street Journal 

To confront the natural disadvantages as drought and diseases, a much faster growing strains of cocoa were being developed, mostly in Africa and south America. But according to the article by Bloomberg, many of them didn’t taste good.
It was not likely for the cocoa production and chocolate market to turn around shortly; so the chocolate lovers have came up with their conduct of code under the dark clouds of chocolate deficit, according to the Guardian these codes are:

It’s a treat, not a food group: Enjoy it and don’t eat it in two seconds.

Ration chocolate in cakes and other dishes: when it comes to bought products like chocolate, it makes  the triple chocolate cake you’re making need the choc buttercream, the dark chocolate ganache and the white chocolate curls all seem luxurious and somehow unnecessary.

Be prepared to pay more. A lot more: That would be bad news for consumers, but there is an upside to the looming shortage – it could finally spell good news for cocoa growers, many of whom receive a “paltry amount” for their product, says Harcourt-Cooze: “If a shortage meant cocoa farmers got high prices, it would make me smile.”

Stop abusing chocolate: For ChocoChicken – the LA restaurant that serves chocolate fried chicken with chocolate ketchup and white choc-fried potatoes, their behaviour has been seen has a conduct of chocolate abusing, and according to Guardian piece, “will not be tolerated”.

The Dark Side of the K-pop Industry

On Sep 21st, 2014, Joon Young, a member from the K-pop boy band, ZE:A, tweeted that his entertainment company had been squeezing cash out of the team without giving team members a fair salary. He then posted his paycheck on Twitter, which showed that his monthly income was only $300.


Since the year 2012 when Psy’s “Gangnam Style” went viral on YouTube, K-pop has experienced a huge increase in its market share all over the world. However, behind the glamorousness of the K-pop industry, K-pop stars are actually experiencing unfair treatment and limited freedom.

The key players in the industry, big entertainment companies in Korea, take full control over the business from casting to production, and from marketing to distribution. They casted and trained talents, and when the artists finally get debuted, they will be forced to sign a long-term contract with the company. Some of the contract even last for 17 years, which is impossible to imagine here in America.

The contract is extremely harsh to artists and beneficial to the company. Artists have to work 7 days a week with only one-week holiday at the end of the year. Three former members from TVXQ complained that they could only sleep 3 hours a day and were not allowed start their own business unless getting permission from the company. Moreover, although TVXQ brought millions of dollars to the company each year, the members only received 1% of what they’ve earned. As a result of that, the three members ended up filing a lawsuit against the company and formed another band themselves.

This lawsuit, which lasted for 4 years, aroused widely concern over the so-called “slave contract” inside the industry. In 2010, the Fair Trade Commission in Korea finally realized the seriousness of the problem, and asked SM Entertainment, the entertainment company of TVXQ, to revise its unfair contract with the artists. SM Entertainment did that, and held a press conference to address people’s concern. Now, everyone seemed relieved, however, this was not the end of the story.

On May 15th, 2014, Kris, a member from the boy band EXO, filed another lawsuit against his entertainment company, and claimed that the intense working condition caused him adverse health problems. Five month later, another member from EXO, Luhan, followed Kris and asked to end the contract with the company. Several days later, Jessica, a member from one of the most well-known K-pop girl band, Girl’s Generation, claimed through weibo platform that she was kicked out of the team because the company didn’t allow her to start her own fashion business.


All of what happened above remind us that the “slave contract” is still there, and it not only hurt the interest of the artists, but also hurt the feeling of K-pop fans all over the world. In fact, this kind of situation is hard to be changed in a short period of time. As the K-pop industry growing bigger and bigger, the competition among entertainment companies and K-pop artists will only be more, not less. This made people worry if the growing speed of the industry surpasses the capacity it can actually handle, which made the industry vulnerable in its expanding process. However, there were also people arguing that this process is what every industry would experience during its expansion. No matter what the answer is, one thing is for sure: if the K-pop industry didn’t make any changes in the way they manage their artists, it will absolutely affect the future development of the industry.