Delia*s Final Chapter;New Mortgage Nirvana Thanks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; Frech Toast Crunch Epic-y Comeback

Down and out…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Delia*s is joining the ranks of the bankruptcy protected now that it has officially filed for Chapter 11. While several of Delia*s teen apparel cohorts, including Abercrombie & Fitch and Urban Outfitters, are merely posting very unfashionable earnings, Delia*s will be getting $20 million just to help liquidate and close down its stores. The retailer, to which bright-eyed teenagers once flocked, can no longer compete with the H&M’s and Forever 21’s of the world. And don’t even get me started on competing with the behemoth that is Amazon. The New York-based chain has 92 stores scattered in malls across the country. With $74 million in assets and over $32 million in debt, its no wonder that Delia*s CEO Tracy Gardner and COO Brian Lex Austin-Gemas resigned. It’s probably safe to say that no one is mourning their departure – well, except maybe for them.

It’s baaaaaaaack…

Image courtesy of foto76/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of foto76/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Justin Timberlake brought sexy back so its only fair that General Mills is bringing back French Toast Crunch. Yes, my fellow cereal aficionados, the dark days are behind us as the maker of Cheerios, Yoplait and Progresso Soups has finally found the wherewithal to bring us back our French Toast Crunch. The sister cereal to the ubiquitous and oft-loved Cinnamon Toast Crunch has been absent from grocery shelves in the United States for almost a decade – I shutter to think. With the invasion of Greek yogurt and fast-food wars breaking out, the cereal was unceremoniously discontinued as other alternatives shoved their way onto the breakfast scene. But consumer demand brought General Mills to its corporate knees, together with an online petition and a Facebook page dedicated to resurrecting the sweet, breakfast sesnation. Besides, General Mills figures those kids who group in the nineties downing French Toast Crunch are now at that age where they are paying for their own cereal now (at least they should be) and can buy it themselves (at least they should be).

3% down with that?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are some very lucky soon-to-be first-time homeowners milling about thanks to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. New terms established by the companies are allowing applicants to put up just 3% down payment to get them into a new home. That’s down from 5%, fyi. Fannie Mae is starting to offer that deal December 13. Looking to refinance? How does reducing your equity to 3% sound? If you haven’t owned a home in three years, guess what? You still qualify.  Starting in March, Freddie Mac will let lower-income first-time home-buyers hand over a 3% down payment provided they agree to housing counseling. Melvin Watt, head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the dude who oversees Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, wants to spur lending to minorities and young adults because the lenders have made more stringent standards following the crash, and the tens of billion of dollars they had to pay towards lawsuits for underwriting less than ideal loans. Republicans, however, are not digging the idea, finding the whole thing too risky and eerily reminiscent of the policies that led up to that awful crash – from which the country is still not fully recovered.

 

 

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Up up and away….

Image courtesy of xedos4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of xedos4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We had another good month, at least according to the Labor Department anyways, which graciously just informed us that 214,000 jobs were added in October. But it gets even more exciting because the unemployment rate dropped. Yes you read that correctly, my fiscal minded friend. Instead of the unemployment rate hovering in the 5.9% range, that rate now hovers around (drum roll please) 5.8%. Yep that .1% drop actually means super huge things. Unfortunately those smug analysts estimated that about 16,000 more jobs would be added. But oh well, what’re you gonna do? The government happened to have added 5,000 of those jobs, by the way. And speaking of more labor, it would seem that the average amount of time Americans work per week has gone up as well. By ten minutes, that is, if my math is correct. So now we collectively work, on average, 34.6 hours per week. No matter how you personally feel about the amount of time you work. Just know that an increase like that is also a good sign. But if you prefer to work less, hey, far be it from me to stop you.

Gone phishing…

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Mister GC/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It wasn’t enough that Home Depot now holds the dubious distinction of having suffered the LARGEST data breach. Ever. I’m sure Target’s pretty stoked not to be rocking that honor anymore. But now, it seems that in addition to the 56 million debit and credit cards that were compromised, 53 million email accounts were also stolen. So what do these hackers intend to do with all those email accounts? Well, phishing attacks are definitely on their to do list.  The unfortunately resourceful hackers entered Home Depot’s system through vendor accounts using usernames and passwords. The breach happened between April and September. Apparently, that was how Targets data breached was executed as well.

Fitched out…

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ddpavumba/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s no coincidence that you’ve been noticing a lot less of Abercrombie and Fitch logos flitting about. But maybe you never noticed them to begin with. In any case, the company just released its earnings and they were way untrendy. The company’s target demographic, teenagers, and by that I do mean that portion of the human population that changes its mind quicker than you can say…well anything…may be flocking to the mall but they’re not flocking to A&F. That goes even more so for its Hollister brand. Our tres tres trendy pals across the pond also have seem to moved on to other brands as well. In fact the retailer hit a two-year low. Analysts expected revenues over $982 million. But instead the retailer took a 12% hit getting just past the $911 million mark.  Last year at this time the company pulled in over a billion dollars.