Banking on a Citigroup Settlement,

Big Citi blues…

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The latest un-shocking revelation coming from the banking industry is that Citigroup is about to cough up $7 billion to settle charges that it sold bad mortgages. The only truly shocking aspect of the story is that the nation’s third largest bank (in assets) thought it was going to get away with lowballing the Department of Justice with a $4 billion offer to settle. The DOJ was initially seeking $10 billion. At least Citigroup now gets to shake off thoughts of a lawsuit. Besides, Citi got off relatively easy compared to JP Morgan who had to dig deep into its pockets for $13 billion – the largest settlement in US history – so far.  Proceeds from the settlement will be divided between consumer relief and government fines. Stay tuned since Bank of America is rumored to be the next bank to ride the multi-billion dollar settlement express train.

Contain yourself…

Image courtesy of supakitmod/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of supakitmod/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Container Store (TCS) posted earnings that all but bummed Wall Street. CEO Kip Tindell attributed the disappointing earnings to a “retail funk.” There is nothing fun (or funky) about that – for The Container Store anyway, since it apparently means that consumers have been opting to spend their hard-earned money on pricier items like cars and homes instead of plastic storage solutions. The nerve. While net sales increased way over 8% from a year ago to $173.4 million, analysts wanted to see $174.21 million. The company posted a loss of $.07 a share instead of an expected $.06 loss per share. Those seemingly innocuous pennies unfortunately, caused a big drop in shares today. The Container Store currently has 60 stores and wants to open a total of 300. And while the idea is, shall we say industrious, the fact is the company reduced its fiscal guidance which tends to be a big red flag to investors.

Heir apparel… 

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

American Apparel is apparently getting a $25 million fiscal infusion from Standard General to help boost its finances and pay off a $10 million loan to investment firm, Lion Capital. It’s just the latest episode in the retail chain’s seemingly never-ending drama. Lion Capital argued that American Apparel defaulted on the credit agreement when it made some management changes, namely ousting CEO Dov Charney. The CEO, who was ousted for “alleged misconduct” signed a five year loan agreement with Standard General which does increase his stake to 43%, but forbids him from voting, that is, unless Standard General says he can. However, considering Charney already violated the terms of his ouster when he brazenly walked into a Lower East Side American Apparel store, exercising his voting rights will are the least of his issues.

 

De-throned! Coach-ing Mistakes and Berry Big News!

Heir apparel…

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of iosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Excitement is in the air at the American Apparel headquarters and it has nothing to do with its racy billboards. Instead, highly controversial CEO Dov Charney has finally and unceremoniously been given the boot. In fact the excitement – and no doubt relief – extended to Wall Street today where shares of the stock shot up 5%. It probably had a bit to do with the fact that there are several lawsuits against Charney involving inappropriate sexual conduct with female employees. Those types of things always tend to put a downer on shares. While Charney is busy maintaining that all alleged interactions were consensual, American Apparel named CFO John Luttrell as interim CEO. American Apparel has 240 stores in twenty countries and tons of racy marketing.

This Coach can’t seem to score…

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Shares of Coach (COH) took a beating today and haven’t been this low since July of 2010. So the company decided now would be a good time to close 70 stores that are underperforming. It seems rivals Michael Kors and Kate Spade are luring would be Coach customers away with apparently trendier styles. The nerve, I tell you. With that in mind, Coach has made up its mind to spend lots and lots of money on marketing and strengthening its presence in “key” markets. North American retail head Francine Della Badia said “consumers…will see less logo, more leather, more lifestyle categories,” if that’s your thing and Coach is banking on it that it is. The company even announced a twice a year sale. Now that is everybody’s thing. Coach has over 500 stores and 70% of its revenue comes from North America.

Berry exciting stuff…

Image courtesy of zole4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of zole4/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Remember BlackBerry? Don’t pretend like you don’t! Well it looks like the Canadian based company is making a nice little comeback pulling in a $23 million profit this quarter. Wait a minute…Who dares to use a BlackBerry these days? Look no further than Indonesia. Actually, that’s pretty far from here but BlackBerry is selling a low-cost smart-phone there called the Z3 and it’s all the rage. So much so that BlackBerry has big plans to introduce it in eight more countries where people are sure appreciate the smartphone more for its price and functionality than for well…anything else. The nicely priced device helped the company pull in $66 million in revenue which is only 1% down from a year ago. In September BlackBerry plans to launch the BlackBerry Passport. If that doesn’t sound exciting and mysterious then I don’t know what does.