RadioShack's Turnaround Plan Fails To Address Its Biggest Problems

Former electronics retail juggernaut RadioShack is in trouble. 
And, given the details of management’s most recent restructuring “plan” as presented to (and eventually rejected by) creditors, it appears the retailer is more at risk than ever before.
First, a breakdown of what’s breaking down at RadioShack. On March 4, management presented to creditors, in a bid to buy time and liquidity, a plan to shut down 1,100 “underperforming” stores (approximately 20% of the retailer’s 5,200 U.S. locations).
By May 8, however, creditors had rejected the plan, putting the retailer on the fast track toward bankruptcy. And while it may appear counterintuitive to those who don’t work with troubled companies (and therefore understand the ins and outs of the processes involved) that creditors would reject a plan seemingly designed to keep the retailer out of (more) trouble and an inevitable filing, here’s why they were right, based on assumptions implicit to the plan, to reject the inept attempt at a strategic turnaround:
  • RadioShack management assumed in its turnaround plan that as a result of the closing of 1,100 stores, it would naturally follow that the decline in same-store sales (nearly -10% as of 2013) would immediately halt.
  • Furthermore, through the closure of these locations as outlined in the plan, RadioShack would have, in essence, created an $800m division of underperforming stores, creating a process that management assumed would remain cash neutral. 
    • Assuming these locations have approximately $150m in inventory, the plan created a significant hole in RadioShack’s ability to borrow just at the time the company is facing severe liquidity pressures. In short, management assumed it could close locations at an almost inhuman speed, resulting in a plan that better resembles an attempt to catch a falling knife.
  • Management also posited, on a pro-forma basis (pending store closures — see breakdown here), that while net revenue was projected to decline nearly $800m (from $3.43b in 2013 to $2.642b in 2014) — and assuming a streamlined gross margin 34% from 2013 — this turnaround plan would have resulted in generating nearly half as many gross profit dollars as the company did in 2010 (from $1.17b to $901.8m). 
    • In order to turn EBITDA break-even, then, SG&A would have had to drop nearly 35%.
  • Finally, management assumed that the company’s current leadership team possessed the skillset necessary to oversee the closing 1,100 stores while balancing the severe liquidity and strategy issues that threaten to strangle the company by October 2015.
In short, RadioShack management’s proposed turnaround plan as presented to creditors posed several dangerous assumptions (despite the fact that RadioShack currently has undrawn borrowing capacity) that failed to tackle the most immediate issues threatening the store.
So what’s next for RadioShack?  Most likely a fight to secure emergency financing, the filing of Chapter 11 — and the ultimate closure of approximately 1,500 stores — and a strategy to emerge that includes expansion into and securing licensing in foreign markets. But at this point, however, given my lack of exposure to the case, I can posit as such as only conjecture.
Whatever happens, it’s clear that the current management team needs significant help in creating and executing a truly efficient and effective turnaround plan. Otherwise, if an operational plan isn’t put in place — and soon — RadioShack could find itself in a very ugly situation. 
With management most likely wishing leadership had put more thought and time into planning once upon a time.
Margaret Bogenrief is a partner with ACM Partners, a boutique crisis management and turnaround advisory firm serving companies and municipalities in financial  distress. Furthermore, she is a joint Masters in Business Administration and Masters in Public Policy graduate of the University of Chicago.
This article originally appeared at ACM Partners. Copyright 2014.

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Ugg Hopes These Photos Will Change Your Mind About The Brand

Ugg Australia
Ugg Australia wants to be known for more than its ubiquitous sheepskin boots. 
The company is trying to refashion its image with a new marketing campaign featuring intimate moments with famous icons, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, Ernest Hemingway's great-great-granddaughter Langley Fox, and California architect Harry Gesner. In the ads, the icons talk about their passions, their family life, and what the Ugg brand means to them.
The campaign is meant to redefine Ugg as a "premium lifestyle brand" that has relevance beyond the winter season by showcasing the company's many other products, including shearling rugs, sneakers, and footwear styles for men.
This is the Gesner family wearing Uggs on the beach "in a nod to Ugg's surfing roots," the company says. 
Ugg Australia
In the next ad, the company features items from its men's line, which launched in 2012.
"For women, the Classic boot is an on-standby style staple," the company writes on its blog. "For men, however, styling the boot can be a bit daunting. Enter Marcus Troy, Creative Council member and ambassador of all things cool."
Ugg Australia
Ugg asked Troy to "re-envision" the Classic boot.
"The result? A dose of swagger and a lesson in styling," the company says. "We have to say, the barometer has been set."
Ugg Australia
Ugg's sales growth peaked in 2004. Since then, the company has endured a lot of criticism. 
"The high fashion crowd has largely dismissed the boots as ugly," writes Huffington Post's Kim Bhasin. "Podiatrists have said the boots don't provide proper support, leading to health problems. A U.K. judge warned that the boots are dangerous to wear while driving. Animal rights group PETA mobilized against Ugg, accusing the company of "extreme cruelty to animals."
Ugg hopes its new campaign will deepen customers' connection with the brand, or as the company puts it, to bring "emotional power" to the Ugg brand. 
"The stories with Langley, Tom and Harry and his family are both personal and authentic," Ugg Vice President of Marketing Nancy Mamann said in release. "Because each of our moments highlights real people, we’re able to dive deeply into who they are and what moment they’re experiencing – whether it’s on our blog, on our website, even our social channels – and bring to life the environment in which people from all walks of life, doing very different things in their private lives, live with UGG."
In an interview with the company, Fox, a sketch artist, is asked what her "UGG moment" is about. 
She responds, "My moment is all about creativity and spontaneous bursts of passion for what you truly enjoy doing in life. In the campaign, you will see me pulling an all-nighter, completely engrossed in my illustrations."
Here's Fox with a $795 Ugg sheepskin rug, a $145 Ugg pillow, and $160 boots.
Ugg Australia
Here's another one of the new ads featuring the brand's woven blankets and pillows.
Ugg Australia

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Mara Wilson Openly Grieves Robin Williams' Death: 'We're All His Godamned Kids, Too'

Known for her roles in "Matilda" and as Susan in "Miracle On 34th Street," and, maybe most notably over the last week, Robin Williams' 5-year-old daughter Natalie in "Mrs. Doubtfire," Mara Wilson took to her blog yesterday to openly grieve the death of her co-star and friend who died on August 11 after committing suicide.
Mara Wilson
Wilson, now 27, remained far from social media since learning of Williams' death last week, but wrote a wonderful and quite lengthy tribute on her blog, describing him in the way his fans have come to know him: hilarious, kind, versatile in talent. 
Mara Wilson
The post is chock-full of memories and anecdotes about Wilson's relationship with Williams, like the time she ran into him in Washington Square Park — she, a student, while he was filming a movie — but she also described a Williams the public may not have seen:
Robin was so on so much of the time that I was surprised to hear my mother describe him as “shy.” “When he talks to you,” she told her friends, “he’ll be looking down at his shoes the whole time.” I figured he must have been different with grown-ups. I wouldn’t see that side of him myself until a few years later, when I was invited to be part of a table read of What Dreams May Come. He came alive in the reading, and had us all laughing at lunch, but my strongest impression came when we saw each other for the first time that day. Robin crossed to me from across the room, got down to my level, and whispered “Hi, how are you?” He asked how my family was doing, how school was, never raising his voice and only sometimes making eye contact. He seemed so vulnerable. “So this is what Mom meant,” I thought. It was as if I was seeing him for the first time. He was a person now.
I had thought maybe the next time I saw Robin I would explain myself to him, let him know that I had loved working with him but didn’t feel like we could do it again, and that being in major studio films again meant a level of scrutiny I didn’t think I could deal with. I wanted to apologize and know he understood. It hurts to know I can’t.
You can read Wilson's full blog post here. She ends her tribute with a memory — one of the best lines she had in Mrs. Doubtfire.
1408455247 mara wilson in mrs doubtfire gif were his goddamn kids too

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Growth Forecasts For The Most Important Retail Technology Since The Mobile Credit Card Reader

More than half of the top 100 U.S. retailers are testing beacons in stores this year. How big will the beacons market become?
BI Intelligence finds that these small devices are the fastest-growing in-store technology since mobile credit card readers. The beacon installed base will see triple-digit growth rates over the next few years. 
The Beacons Market Forecast is part of new research from BI Intelligence. The market forecast is paired with an explainer that sets the story straight about what beacons are, how they work, what Apple is doing with iBeacon. 
Here are some of the other trends explored in the full report: 
To access the Beacons Market Forecast Report and BI Intelligence's ongoing coverage on the future of retail, mobile, and e-commerce — including charts, data, and analysis — sign up for a free trial.

bii beacons top retail stores
BI Intelligence

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Boys Learn More About Money Than Girls

Research has repeatedly shown that women manage a good deal of the money in the United States.
It would make sense, then, that girls are raised to be at least as excited, confident, and well-informed about money as boys.
But according to T. Rowe Price's 2014 Parents, Kids, And Money Survey, that isn't always the case. The sixth annual survey asked 1,000 parents of kids ages 8-14 and over 900 kids in that same age range about their financial knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors.
Here's some of what they found:

Only about half of children recall having regular conversations about financial goals with their parents, and parents are talking to more boys than girls.

Unsurprisingly, then, more boys than girls feel that they're "extremely" smart about money.

Their parents agree that more boys know the value of a dollar than girls, although they're more confident in their kids' knowledge of money than the kids themselves.

The fact that twice as many of these boys have credit cards is likely related to this confidence.

More boys than girls are aware that their parents are saving for their college education, which probably has something to do with those family financial conversations.

The fact that boys outperform girls in every one of these measures undoubtedly comes back to the first chart: Parents are talking about money to their sons more than their daughters, and their kids' financial confidence reflects those conversations. 
If you want to teach your kids — of either sex — about money, T. Rowe Price established Money Confident Kids, a program meant to teach the next generation the basics of personal finance.

These 42 Websites Could Save You Money On Just About Everything

We have scoured every corner of the web to find you the best sites for saving your dough. Whether you are looking to book a trip, buy a dress, or simply save on bills, we have you covered. Check out all of the best money-saving websites below.

Local deals

Groupon: Sign up for this site and get daily specials on just about anything in your area — products, services, restaurants, and more.
LivingSocial: Check out all of the best deals in the area where you live with this website.
Goldstar: Get crazy good deals on all sorts of concerts, sports games, and plays when you sign up for this site.
Yipit: Find the best discounts in your city with this aggregator that searches other daily deal websites to bring you the best deals.
ShopLocal: The team at ShopLocal searches for the best services and products in each city so that you can get the best purchase possible for the smallest amount of money.

Balcon Hotel
Find good deals on hotels and travel expenses with sites like Booking Buddy and Yapta.
Travel and lodging

Booking Buddy: The site will compare travel costs from all the best booking sites so that you get the best deal possible.
Airbnb: Instead of booking a pricey hotel, rent rooms or homes from local hosts in 190 countries.
DogVacay: Sometimes you need someone to watch your dog, and this dog-sitting service lets you choose the sitter based on the price.
Vayable: Tour guides can be really expensive, but this service provides you with local residents to act as your guides for a fraction of the cost.
Yapta: You will never miss a travel deal again with Yapta because it will alert you via email as soon as prices drop on deals you are interested in.
Carma Carpool: Carma matches you with people that have similar commutes so that you can share driving costs through the company's app.
Ridejoy: Find people in your area going in the same direction as you so that you can all ride together and save dough. Be the driver or look for someone to pick you up.

shopping clothes store
Sean Gallup / Getty Images
Websites such as Twice and Poshmark can help you earn cash for clothes you no longer wear.
Apparel shopping

Twice: This online marketplace will provide you with a free shipping bag or label so that you can send in your clothes that you would like to sell. You can also shop their designer items for heavily discounted prices.
Threadflip: For shoppers that truly appreciate high-end apparel but can't afford the steep prices, Threadflip connects buyers and sellers with unique pieces that would be marked at a much higher price point if sold anywhere else.
MyCoupons: Instead of endlessly searching for retail deals, MyCoupons finds all of the discounts for you and puts them in one easily searchable place.
Rent the Runway: Shop designer clothes that usually have massive price tags. Book an item for a set amount of days, wear it, and then return it. Wear the best clothes in the industry for a fraction of the price.
Poshmark: Shopping for secondhand clothes is only the tip of the iceberg on this site. You can also snap photos of your own clothes and sell them through their easy app.

no cell phone reception in desert
Unhappy with your cell service? Cellswapper helps you get out of unfavorable phone plans.

TechBargains: Not only do you get to compare prices on all sorts of electronics, but you can set up email alerts for deals and coupons as well.
Glyde: Find out how much your gadget or video game is worth on this site, then decide if it's worth selling. Glyde will sell your product for you, and you will score some extra cash.
Woot!: Everyday Woot! features the best deal they can find around the web. Share the deal with friends through social media or snag the item for yourself.
Cellswapper: Whether you are stuck in a phone plan or simply want to give yours away, Cellswapper will solve all of your contract woes.
NextWorth: If you have any old gadgets laying around, you can send them into NextWorth for some fast cash without a hassle. Check out our easy step-by-step instructions here.

iphone, how to, girl, curious, focused, texting, cell phone,
AwardWallet keeps track of all your reward programs all in one place to help you stay organized and fully utilize them.
Paying the bills

Undebt: This site will generate a payment plan to help you get all of your bills paid. You can choose different plans that will calculate the most cost effective way to pay your bills.
WhiteFence: This service shows you the average rate on phone, cable, Internet, and electricity bills so that you can find out if you're overpaying. It also provides you with cheaper options.
Insure: This consumer insurance website will find you the most affordable coverage across all boards.
Kasasa: The website will provide you with free checking and saving accounts so that you can keep track of your rates and money easily.
AwardWallet: This service keeps track of your reward programs, such as frequent flyer miles and credit card points. With AwardWallet, you can stay organized all in one place without forgetting about your deals that result from paying all of your bills.

bike messenger
TaskRabbit will connect you with someone in your area to cheaply take care of errands you aren't able to get to.
Product and service sharing

NeighborGoods: Share stuff with friends and neighbors through this website. The service will link you up according to your location and connect you with people who live nearby.
Yerdle: You know what's better than cheap? Free! People give away all kinds of stuff on Yerdle, and all you pay for is the shipping.
Dealigg: This community site is run by the shoppers themselves. Post deals you find, check out other users' deals, and vote on whether or not those buys are totally worth it.
TaskRabbit: Have an errand or task that you're unable to do? This online app will connect you with people in your area that are willing to take care of your chores for cheap.
Shotgun!: Sharing with friends has never been so fun. Post stuff on the app (anything from a surfboard to a frappuccino), choose friends to share it with, and whoever clicks on the item first wins. First come, first served!
Zilok: Need to rent something? Odds are Zilok has it waiting for you to borrow for a small price. Rent your stuff out to others as well and make some money.

edm dj music concert
Tom Briglia/Getty Images
Sell concert tickets you aren't able to use on StubHub instead of letting them go to waste.
Anything and everything

RetailMeNot: It's the world's largest coupon marketplace, so they have you covered on every deal imaginable.
ShopStyle: Whether you are looking for home goods or a new outfit, ShopStyle has you covered with awesome deals and discounts that are hard to find anywhere else.
SheSaved: Hunting for deals will feel a lot more fun once you start reading them in these awesome blog posts.
BigCrumbs: Get awesome cash back rewards in addition to discounts when you shop through BigCrumbs.
Temptalia: This database will find you the best deals on all things cosmetic whether you're looking for something that's sold-out, or something that's just easier on your wallet.
StubHub: Create an account on this site to sell unwanted tickets instead of letting all that money go to waste. Check out our review of the site with simple instructions too!
Larky: Chances are you are eligible for all sorts of deals, and you don't even know it. Larky will tell you what kinds of perks are waiting specifically for you.
Priceonomics: This website will pull information from the Internet that will help you price items for Craigslist or eBay at the most profitable margin.
Craigslist: There are many money-saving websites, but when in doubt you can always go to Craigslist. Whether you are looking to buy or sell just about anything on the planet, this site is the ultimate place to do it.
This article originally appeared at POPSUGAR Smart Living. Copyright 2014. Follow POPSUGAR Smart Living on Twitter.

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