Coach Goes Shoe Shopping; Bitcoin of a Breach;

Well-heeled…

Image courtesy of biosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of biosphere/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Luxury handbag and accessories maker Coach (COH) went shoe company shopping to go with all its merchandise and decided to settle on $530 million worth of Stuart Weitzman shoes. Coach announced this morning that it’s buying luxury shoe company Stuart Weitzman, which was/is actually owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners LLC, who is getting $530 million in cash for the company. But if all goes well, in that Stuart Weitzman hits its revenue goals in the next three years, Sycamore stands to gain another $44 million – a win/win for all. In 2013, the footwear maker pulled in $270 million while Coach has been undergoing some growing pains in the last couple years as it struggles to compete with trendy rivals Michael Kors and Kate Spade. Shares of Coach rose $0.46 in pre-market trading which can only mean one thing – Wall Street is totally into the purchase.

Oops! It happened again…

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Victor Habbick/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Bitstamp, Europe’s top bitcoin exchange had to put the kibosh on services after 19,000 bitcoins went missing. In case you were wondering…which I know you were, that’s over $5 million. No withdrawals and no deposits (which probably won’t be an issue) can be made with Bitstamp as of now, but it has reassured its customers that “their balances held prior will not be affected and will be honored in full.” Awww. that’s sweet. How very responsible and conscientious. Sort of. Apparently the exchange’s “operational wallets were compromised” which sounds like something out of a movie. The rest of the exchange’s bitcoin stash is kept in “cold storage.” And while that just sounds like the secret compartment in the back of your mother’s freezer, it’s actually a term to describe computers that aren’t connected to the internet but hold information. Like my Commodore 64 I had when I was eight.  The breach doesn’t quite have the stench of epic failure of the Mt. Gox breach collapse almost a year ago, which saw $650 million worth of the crypto-currency mysteriously disappear along with the collapse of the exchange itself.  However, the breach is still alarming enough to shake up the unregulated bitcoin universe. Bitcoins are, by the way trading in the $270 range, which is cute and all but nothing like its $1,240 peak, pre-Mt. Gox collapse, of course.

Stamp’d out…

Image courtesy of anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of anankkml/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The United States Postal Service had its best fiscal quarter in seven years. In fact, this quarter was up 18% over the same time last year.  A very impressive feat considering that volume for mail is down 26% in the last ten years. But even with that 18% increase the USPS continues to operate at a loss. Those pieces of paper to which you affix stickers with a monetary value on it – you do realize I am talking about stamped envelopes, don’t you? – have gone down in volume by a third. Even though the price for stamps kept going up and up and up… the postal service still saw $17 billion in losses in the last decade. To help recoup some of those billions, the postal service consolidated over 300 processing facilities, cut 212,000 jobs and nixed 23,000 routes. And now expect snail mail to get even snail-ier with the average delivery time going up from 1.8 days to 2.1 days.

 

Going Postal Over Staples, Amazing Quarter for Amazon and Microsoft is Looking Up

Postal smackdown over staples…I mean Staples…

Image courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Gualberto107/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Postal workers across the country are fuming over a new program to install postal counters in Staples (SPLS) stores. Yesterday union postal workers showed up at several of the chain’s locations to show they are so not into it. The program first began last year in Massachusetts and has spread to over eighty stores. But postal workers think the government is trying to privatize the post office and break up the unions – which may or may not be true. But what is true is that the United States Postal Service took a $5 billion hit in 2013, and Uncle Sam has been eagerly searching for ways to cuts costs and boost revenue for the struggling entity. Unions are also angry because they don’t want well-paid union postal workers to be replaced by low-wage non-union members. Union postal workers rake in about $25.00/hour. Yeah, nice work if you can get it. A Staples salesperson takes in about a third of that.

Amazing earnings…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like Amazon (AMZN) is having a good week. The online retailer announced its first quarter earnings and yeah, they were that good. Besides beating Wall Street’s predictions, which always leaves a company and its investors feeling giddy with joy, it also posted revenue 23% higher than it did for the same period last year while profits grew 18%. According to Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon,“We get our energy from inventing on behalf of customers, and 2014 is off to a kinetic start,” Awww isn’t that sweet. Naturally the stock took a nice little bump on their shares from all the excitement. Then there were all those fun announcements from Amazon, like, for instance its deal with HBO to stream their older shows. And don’t forget Prime Pantry,where for a flat fee of $5.99 (a pittance, really) you can order all the groceries you need to your heart’s content – as long as it fits into a 45 lb. box.

This cloud’s got a green lining…

Image courtesy of jscreationzs/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jscreationzs/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Things are looking up for newly coronated Microsoft (MSFT) CEO Satya Nadella. You do remember Microsoft don’t you? It’s the company whose shares you always wished you had bought. Yeah me too. Especially since it beat analysts prediction by $0.05 this week earning $0.68 a share. Sure sales of Windows to businesses and cloud momentum helped pull in those nice figures. But never forget the power of gaming either as the very entertaining and highly addictive (at least in my home) Xbox console was a big contributor to this quarter’s success.