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Michaels, a store that sells craft supplies and random decorative crap, managed to become the only big-box craft store that sells kids’ current favorite craft/toy, the Rainbow Loom. Here’s the problem with having one hot product, though: it might boost a company’s sales and profits now, but how long will the trend last?
In the case of Rainbow Loom, that one product, which Michaels only carried for half of 2013, made up almost 3% of the company’s sales growth in comparable stores. That’s pretty great, but Walmart has the official yet slightly different Crazy Loom, imitators are sprouting up everywhere, and there are even companies selling counterfeit Rainbow Looms.
The future of the looms is important to the chain, because the company filed for its second attempt at an initial public stock offering this year. Bloomberg Businessweek points out that they even mention the product specifically in the “risks” section of their IPO filing.
Our recent results of operations have been significantly enhanced by sales of one product, the Rainbow Loom. Sales of the Rainbow Loom and replacement rubber bands were the primary driver of the increase in our Net sales in the fiscal year ended February 1, 2014 compared to the prior fiscal year. Based on our retail experience, we expect that the popularity of this product will diminish over time, and our results of operations could be affected by our inability to anticipate demand for this product and stock the appropriate level of inventory. Similarly, if we identify products in the future that have a significant effect on our results of operations, we could face similar challenges and risks that could affect our profitability.
The challenge for Michaels will be keeping that momentum going, which will only happen if they’re lucky and resourceful enough to identify the next craft trend (for kids or for adults) early on. They could also find a way to transition Rainbow Loom fans to more grown-up and complex but similar crafts, like loom knitting or even crochet. It’s all loops and hooks, after all.
How the Rainbow Loom Fad Made Millions for Michaels [Bloomberg Businessweek]
by Laura Northrup via Consumerist
At this point it might be easier for the owners of General Motors cars if the company just recalled all of its vehicles.
On Monday, the manufacturer announced the recall of 3.16 million vehicles for ignition switch problems, as well as 165,770 other vehicles for a host of issues, The Detroit News reports.
The latest ignition recall involves model year 2000-2014 cars with ignition switches that may inadvertently move out of the run position if the key is carrying extra weight and experiences a jarring event such as hitting a pothole or crossing railroad tracks.
GM reports there have been eight crashes and six injuries related to the issue.
Only one vehicle involved in the latest recall is still in production; the Chevrolet Impala, which is sold to daily rental fleets as the Impala Limited.
Vehicle models being recalled include:
- 2005-2009 Buick Lacrosse
- 2006-2014 Chevrolet Impala
- 2000-2005 Cadillac Deville
- 2004-2011 Cadillac DTS
- 2006-2011 Buick Lucerne
- 2004-2005 Buick Regal LS & GS MY
- 2006-2008 Chevrolet Monty Carlo
Officials with GM say the use of a key with a hole, rather than a slot, will address concerns of unintended key rotation. Dealers will add an insert to the ignition key to close the slot, leaving just enough space for the key ring. If the key cover is worn, GM will replace the keys.
GM will begin reworking the keys in the next few weeks, until then owners of affected vehicles are urged to remove additional weight from their key chains.
If the issue sounds familiar, that’s because it is. In February, GM recalled 2.6 million vehicles because extra weight on key rings, or a jarring event, could cause the ignition to switch off, which in turn could disable the airbags and cause the vehicle to crash. That issue resulted in at least 13 deaths, although new reports estimate there could be as many as 74 fatalities.
Since the February recall, General Motors has faced increased scrutiny, including a number of inquests into how long the company kew about the deadly issue before warning drivers. In May, the company was slapped with a $35 million fine for waiting 13 years to acknowledge the defect it knew about before the first recalled vehicles hit the road.
In addition to the latest ignition issue, GM recalled another 165,700 vehicles Monday for an array of problems.
An automatic transmission issue in 68,887 model year 2013-2014 Cadillac ATS and 21,863 2014 Cadillac CTS sedans could prevent drivers from shifting in or out of gear.
The possibility of the loss of power steering related to the improper attachment of power steering hose clamps resulted in 587,192 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 2500/3500 HD and 2015 GMC Sierra 2500/3500 GMC Sierra HD vehicles.
A possible gasket leak in 16,932 2011 Cadillac CTS sedans could cause the rollover sensor toe deploy roof rail air bags.
A unbelted child and door trim could block the passenger seat air bag vent in the event of a deployment in 712 model year 2014 Chevrolet Corvettes.
And finally, 184 model year 2014-15 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickups with vinyl floors and accessory all-weather floor mats were recalled because the mats can slide under the drivers feet. Owners of the vehicles are advised to take the mats to their dealer for a refund.
Additionally, GM said it is taking a charge of $700 million for second quarter recalls, bringing the company’s recall total to $2 billion for the year. In all, GM has issued 44 recalls this year totaling more than 20 million affected vehicles worldwide – 17.7 million of which are in the United States.
GM recalls 3.2 million vehicles for ignition switch problems [Detroit News]
by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist
If it feels like it’s been a while since you’ve heard about the brawl between JCPenney and Macy’s over golden girl Martha Stewart and her branded products, well, that’s because it has been: Six months after the two sides settled on terms that would allow both to sell Stewart stuff, a judge has ruled that JCPenney interfered in Macy’s contract with the homemaking maven when it came up with its own collection of home goods tied to her name.
That being said, the judge wrote in the ruling that Macy’s failed to prove that JCPenney was liable for any punitive damages, because the actions weren’t “malicious” or “immoral,” reports the Associated Press.
JCPenney is still on the hook to pay attorney’s fees and other monetary damages tied to the line of bath towels and home decor products hawked under the JCP Everyday brand last year.
JCPenney said last year it was scaling back the range of the products it wanted to sell under the Martha Stewart name, but is going to keep selling a small number of home decor items that weren’t part of the exclusive contract Macy’s had with Stewart’s company.
Judge: JC Penney interfered with Macy’s pact [Associated Press]
by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist